Monday, January 25, 2010


I'm in Nashville!!

Nashville-Bound, and the Story of April and Elisa :)

After four days of work in a row (for the second week in a row), I need a break. So I'm going to Nashville to see my best friend!!

This is Elissa:

She's my kindred spirit. Our souls are connected. We will be friends until we die.

And we live three hours apart. It's sad :(

I met her in the spring of junior year in college. She was really sick with Lyme Disease (which is worthy of a post of its own), and was on TPN. (Which is basically the IV version of food. She couldn't eat, so she had a central line - an IV placed in a major vein in her chest - to get nutrients through.) I was in nursing school, and being my nerdy self, I recognized it immediately, and thanks to my lack of filter, said something along the lines of "OMG you're on TPN!! That's so cool!!" Very rude of me.

Somehow, it was Lissa's favorite reaction to her line/TPN, and it made her laugh. Later in the spring, she came to a get-together I had while I was house-sitting for these people, and we realized that I had a place to live for the summer, but needed a roommate to share the cost, and that she needed a place to live. So, there it was: we became roommates.

I am not of the belief that every person you ever meet in your lifetime is there because of divine intervention. But I do believe that God knows when you need someone, and intentionally places some people in our lives for a specific purpose. Elissa and I needed each other, specifically. The fact that we are such good friends is a total "God thing," to use a corny Christian euphemism. She needed a friend - but one who could both look past her sickness/central line and all that came with it/inability to eat normally and see HER, but also understand all that stuff and be there if she needed help. My best friend from college (who I lived with during the school year 2 years in a row) was away in the Philippines, and I was lonely, and struggling with my decision to be a nurse or not. I'd just come out of a horrible semester with a really nasty clinical instructor who had shaken my confidence to its core.

So we moved into a really awesome townhouse together, and our mommies met each other (I still LOVE her mommy and her whole family) and we started to get to know each other. Within a week, that was it. You've heard of love at first sight - this was something sort of like it. I can't explain it - it was like her soul literally intertwined with mine. We stayed up late (too late) talking, looking at pictures, just sharing with each other. We ate breakfast together sitting on our kitchen counters. We went and looked at ribbon at the ribbon store. She made organic chemistry flowsheets, and I laughed at her. I changed her central line dressings a couple of times, and she encouraged me that I really would be a good nurse.

That summer, she became septic from a line infection, and was hospitalized. Her best friend from when she was at UGA came to visit, and we all stayed in the hospital with her for HOURS. She says those are her favorite memories from that summer - there was just something about those few days. I held her hand while the crazy doctor pulled her line, because Melissa couldn't watch. All three of us curled up in her hospital bed (becoming a little drawer of spoons) and watched House episodes on her laptop. I brought her baby food to eat when she didn't have a line, and the nurses at the hospital didn't understand that hospital food just wouldn't work for her. She came home, got a PICC, hated the PICC, got a new line, hated the new line (because of the stupid doctor who put it in), and we finished out our summer.

The next school year we didn't really lose touch, but we weren't living together anymore since my roommate came back from the Philippines. We still got to see each other, and still made our normal Panera trips. I got engaged in December, and asked her to be one of my bridesmaids. By that June, when I was getting married, she was eating well enough to have her line pulled, so she could wear her strapless bridesmaid dress without a big dressing showing in pictures. Then, that summer, came the official Lyme diagnosis and with that a bunch of antibiotics. The thing I most regret about that time, when she was getting better, is that I wasn't there to see it. It was nearly a year before I got to see her again - I was busy working, she was busy healing - and I went to see her in Florence at her house, and suddenly she was better. She could eat. She could walk longer distances than I had ever seen. She had stamina. She had energy.

This is my best friend eating Tiramisu with me at a restaurant. I nearly cried, right there at the table. I never, ever thought I would see that.

Fast forward a few months, and she ran a 10K. More tears of joy.

And here we are, now. I get to see her anytime I want. I get to eat meals with her. She is healthy. She has a full-time job. She still has fatigue, and still takes meds for that, but the last time I was with her, we cleaned out her old clothes that she wore when she was sick and too thin, and we cleared away all the medications that she took. It was hard for her. I'm glad I was with her for that.

And I get to see her today!! Oh, how I wish that she lived closer to me. I miss her. I'm so glad she's well.

To quote my mom's facebook status this morning: I'm so glad God let us have friends :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

I Need to Get Up

...but I don't want to. Sooo tired ...

In preparation for our cruise, Mark has decided that he wants to lose some weight. He's thinking about doing the p90x program - does anybody know anything about it? I know it's pretty tough, but has anybody actually done it, or know someone who has? I'd like to know that it works before we spend money on it. (And if we do spend money on it, he'd better do the thing....) So feedback would be appreciated :)

Ahhh, our cruise.... Everytime I think about that, I get excited. It will be SO NICE to just relax and have fun and go to the Caribbean (where I have never been before), and while the cruise is 5 nights, I'll get a full 12 days off, if I don't happen to work extra before or after we go :) That will be a really nice break. We're going at the beginning of May, right after Mark gets out of school. (All his friends will be jealous!!) This is our cruise... Cruise!!! I can't wait to go on it :)

*sigh* Time to make a grocery list, I suppose... that's my goal, grocery shop, make lunch, maybe make some treats to take to work with me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lazy Day :)

My big accomplishment of today:

Mark and I decided on and booked a cruise!

Other than that, I've pretty much been in bed all day. After my crazy week at work, and then Mom and Thomas coming, I've needed some "me" time. Yesterday was a "me" shopping day :) One of the nurses from work told me about this awesome consignment boutique, and I went there - I got a sweater and a dress for $26 :) I also found a pair of black heels for $9. And I went to the Summit, browsed around in White House Black Market, and found this pretty little number on sale! I figure it will be perfect for the formal night on our cruise :)

Speaking of which...

We are sailing in May on a Carnival cruise to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands!! It's a 5 night cruise, and I am so excited :) It will be so much fun! Perfect ending to Mark's semester and a nice break from work for me.

Now if I can just make it to May....

Monday, January 18, 2010

For the love of all that is good and holy....

WHY did I wake up at 5:30 this morning???

Yesterday, Mark's mom and brother came to visit. We went to CPK to eat (fish tacos! yum!), and then came home, finished a movie, and I went to bed. Today I believe we're going shopping when the boys get up (one of the nice things about having a fellow-nurse as a mom-in-law is that she gets up at the crack of dawn too!), so that should be fun.

So the movie we finished was The Empire Strikes Back - Mark and I have been watching all 6 Star Wars movies in order, because I've never seen all of them before. It's been a fun sort of thing to do - and Mark loves it that I like something semi-nerdy :) Can't wait to finish the series!

Hopefully this week will be more restful than the last. Too much to do. Hopefully I can get plenty of sleep...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I have the best husband ever :)

Beware: sickeningly lovey-dovey post ahead....

I really, really, really love us :)

Mark and I had a really fun date day today - I love days like this :) Each other, all day long, and only us. Playing and laughing and talking and just enjoying being together. I mean, I know we're together all the time, with my work schedule and him just doing school - we see each other a lot more often than the average couple. But those days where we intentionally set aside "us" time - they're just that much more special.

I'm the luckiest girl ever. I mean, honestly, Mark tells me he loves me ALL the time, and that I'm beautiful ALL the time, and he makes me laugh, and he is always, always patient with me. Some days, he'll get this HUGE grin on his face and say "I LOVE you SO much" and hug me so tight I can't breathe. He makes me so happy :)

I can't believe we'll have been married 3 years in June. It seems like such a long time, and yet no time at all. I feel like we've known each other forever... I'm so blessed to have such an awesome husband. I know not everybody is this lucky, and I don't take him for granted.

I just love him so, so much :)

Blog Update!

So I figured, new year, new look... what do you think?

Monday, January 11, 2010


Happy report: we are off the mountain! (And have been since Saturday night, actually... I'm a bad updater.)

Saturday afternoon, we were rescued by a super nice man in a pickup truck with 4-wheel drive! He literally towed our car up the icy part of the mountain (the part that made us stuck) and then drove down to the safer part to make sure we were home free. Thank you, thank you, thank you! So we got back to Birmingham, safe and sound, by about 8:30 or 9 that night.

One last set of pictures, this time from when Kelly came to visit!

She came on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and we hung out that afternoon, and then her boyfriend, Colton, came over for dinner and to meet us for the first time. I loooove him!! He's so sweet :) And totally perfect for Kelly - they're all artsy and cool and precious together, and Mark and I are just old and dorky and nerdy. But that's okay :)

So then, the next day, we all went to see Avatar (which is FANTASTIC, by the way), and then went to Colton's house for dinner with his family. (Which is HUGE.) (His family AND his house, actually.) Dinner was yummy, and then we played telephone pictionary which is a really awesome large-group game to play, and then we played rockband for a while.

So now come the pictures.

New Year's Eve: That afternoon we went shopping, and I got my very first pair of skinny jeans EVER. Only because of Kelly. I always think I look stupid in them - but Kelly says I look good in them, so I got them. (They were cheap-cheap at Plato's Closet, woo!)

Then that night was a party at Colton's house. Here's Kelly, looking awesome as usual, right before we left.

Love my sister!!

So the party was fun, and we headed back early to hang out with Andy and Suzie for New Year's, and I promptly drank a cocktail and fell asleep. I'm old. And boring.

The next morning (ish) Kelly and I played an awesome game of Scrabble.

She was not happy about her hand.

And then she showed me why. Ew, right?

I mean, seriously, that sucks.

But the game was awesome anyway.

And Kelly ended up winning (by 3 points), despite her hand from Hades!!

She always does the best victory dances :)


After our Scrabble extravaganza, Colton invited us to go bowling with him and some of his and Kelly's college friends and his sister, so we did!

I got completely OWNED because I am the worst bowler ever to exist. Seriously. We played two games: I scored a 37 and a 58, consecutively. Not kidding. When I say I'm bad at something, and it's sports-related, you should believe me.

But everybody was super nice about it, so it was okay :)

And here's Kelly and her boy - they are so cute!

So that was two weeks ago, and then we went to (and got stuck in) Gatlinburg, and here I am now :) Cooking and working and doing laundry this week - and after that, hopefully I can just chill and maybe scrapbook some for a bit. I'm tired of traveling.

I've got to go fix dinner now (which I'm actually excited about - roasted veggies and chicken in a marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, sage, and garlic - yum!!) Hope everybody stays warm!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Trying Again...

In several ways.

This morning dawned Day Two of being Snowed In. I looked out the window, and there are icicles on our car. Not exactly the best sign ... but maybe the sun will come out and it will warm up, or there will be some Patron Saint of Snow Chains that passes our way. Either way, I desperately want to get off this mountain today.

I need to be more optimistic.

So I figured I'd at least try to post some more pictures to pass the time...

We're here!! This was the first night that we got here, and we went to our cabin, unloaded the car, and headed back out to the Old Mill Restaurant. It had really good Southern food, and we basically gorged ourselves :)

Andy and Suzie too!

That night, it snowed! Not a lot, just enough to dust the ground with maybe a half inch of white powder. It was FREEZING though, obviously :)

Our pretty snow-covered cabin!

The view from our back porch

Emma joins in the fun - she liked to eat the snow

Emma and her Daddy play inside where it's nice and warm.

That afternoon, we went into Gatlinburg. First stop: the Apple Barn (and its surrounding shops) to eat lunch and shop a bit.

Kisses for my hubby!

Andy tries to tell Mark he loves him too - but Mark isn't wanting it. :)

We posed in front of a frozen waterfall...

the girls!!

And finally took one of those Old-Time pictures. We'd never done it before, and I never realized how gross it would be to put on those clothes - but I think the picture turned out pretty well :)

So now, the goal is to get home. We're going to run out of food again if we stay here much longer...

Pray for the roads to clear!!

Friday, January 8, 2010


Okay, so this is the third time I've tried to post, and I'm just giving up on posting more photos than this. I always crash my internet connection when I try. So we're going to just go from here.

We are stuck. Earlier today, around 10:30 or 11, we tried to leave. We slippy-slid our way out of the driveway, which should have been a red flag, but then just kept going. We went a ways down the road, and then got totally stuck/slid whenever we tried to go again. Not good. So Suzie had to drive backwards down the road (that worked better for some reason...) back to somebody's driveway, and then we walked the rest of the way back to the cabin.

Main problem: we had no food. Because we thought we would be fine to leave, we cleaned out the fridge, and really didn't have that much to eat to begin with, because we'd eaten it all in anticipation of leaving today. So - stuck in our cabin, with no chains to put on our tires, and no way to get food. So poor Mark and Andy had to walk 3 MILES in the snow to a convenience store. They would have had to walk the three miles back had they not run into some very kind strangers, who gave them a ride in their enormous truck. Thank you, nice people!! So now we have some food, and we're staying at a discounted rate tonight. Hopefully we can get back tomorrow.

Here's some pictures from the last couple days. I'll post more when we get home.

From our day in Gatlinburg, our little $3 photo-booth session. So cute. I love these :)

After we got back from Gatlinburg, we enjoyed some time in the hot tub. Snow was falling, and obviously we were steaming a bit. It was a fun time :)

The next day, we participated in a very short snowball fight. Andy's about to make his attack...

...And Mark and Suzie retaliate :)

Our cabin this morning, covered in snow :) So pretty!

Me, on the back porch.

Emma loves the snow! (And the new sweater that Suzie knitted for her!)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Posting from the Mountains...

I am currently procrastinating from doing the dishes. Story of my life.

These past couple of weeks have been really busy. Between Kelly coming to visit and all our adventures there, and now our vacation, I've barely had time to breathe. Luckily, this week has been incredibly relaxing. We have to leave tomorrow, and I'm really sad about that :(

I was going to post pictures, but the internet connection here is really, really slow, so I'll just wait till we get home.

The dishes are calling my name. I can't have coffee until they're done.

Pictures to come soon!