Friday, December 28, 2012

Year-End Wrap-Up

Here we are at the close of another year. (Looks like we survived the great 12/21/12 apocalypse...whew! LOL!) At the end of Dec. 2011, I sat down & wrote several things that I wanted to work on during the 2012 year. I thought I'd take some time to reflect on those & see what (if anything) I accomplished off my list. Here's my original list....

1. To graduate nursing school, pass my NCLEX & obtain a job (or 2)....Well, I did graduate. I did pass my NCLEX & I have been working one job for close to 5 months & I even found that 2nd job & have worked it for a little while now. Beginning in Jan. 2013, I am going back to working just 1 job (the one I've had for almost 5 months now). I am beginning to find my place in nursing. Interestingly, it's in a type of nursing I never thought I'd like & in a position that a year ago I would have flat out told you I'd not even consider. Funny how life works that way...

2. Make time for me at least 3 days a week (preferably 5) in which I can walk for exercise, stress-relief, & mental wellness...This is an area in which I still need much work. I have improved on letting the little things go & on enjoying a good book once in a while without feeling guilty because I'm not studying or there's a load of laundry going unfolded. Still, I made this "resolution" to work on my physical health as well & there's a ton of room for improvement there.

3. Encourage Livi's running. She's working on something that I hope will become a lifelong love & habit for her...Although I continue to encourage Livi's love of running, this year has been a very trying year for her health-wise & her running has been set aside due to those health issues. I am hopeful that the new year will bring answers into what's been going on with her & that she can resume this activity that she enjoys.

4. Make time every day to really listen to Toby. Smile at him. Laugh with him.
5. Have a date night at least once a month. 
6. Vacation at least once this year with Toby & Livi...These are all areas that I still need to work on. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of nursing school is that you become so focused on what needs to be done that you forsake those around you. Then there's the cost of nursing school which sucks any extra cash right out of your family budget. Although, I think Toby & I have made some good strides in discovering what it's like to be a couple again, I think we also highly underestimated the effect that the changes in our family roles/dynamics would have on our family as a whole. It's been a big adjustment to go from him working outside the home & me taking care of things at home to us both working outside the home & sharing the "at home" responsibilities. It's an ongoing work in progress as we adjust to a new way of life.  We've yet to get to the once-a-month date nights & we had to skip a family vacation this year due to both financial & work obligations.

7. Try new recipes & keep my blogs updated regularly...This is something I really enjoy. I haven't been able to keep up with it as much as I'd like to, but now that I'm settling into my job maybe I'll have more time for this hobby in 2013.

8. Save for a new home. & 9. Save for a new-to-us vehicle...Saving money has never came easy to us. I know for some people it's a no brainer, but I am the biggest pushover when it comes to caving when Toby or Livi wants something so I've always been a poor saver. (And, I'm a self-confessed McDonald's Coca-Cola addict...)Toby & I have recently implemented some changes in how we take care of our finances & we're hoping that these new ideas will help us to be better savers. As for the "new-to-us vehicle", we've decided to hold off on that for a little while longer. There is something wonderful about not having an auto payment & every time I think about going into debt for a vehicle I get a little sick feeling so this is something that can wait for now. 

10. Be a better mom...Gosh, this has become a daily mantra for me. If I live to be 105, I'll still be getting up every morning praying to be a better mom, going to bed at night thinking I did it all wrong & praying for one more day to try again. I don't think there is such a thing as a perfect mom & I'm not even aiming for perfection. All I aim for is to be worthy of the incredible daughter I've been blessed with. 

11. Help Toby expand his guitar business. Help make it possible for him to attend the seminars & workshops that he'd like to attend...We're still working on this. There's some ideas in the works, but I'll have to save those for a later blog ;) 

12. Be a better "bestie"...I've decided this is similar to being a better mom. It's one of those things you can work at every day but never be "done" accomplishing. As Steph & I have started on new journeys as nurses, our lives have become cluttered with mixed up work schedules & the juggling of daily life as working moms. Still, I treasure every second we get to spend together & I hope that 2013 brings us more opportunities to see each other & hang out. 

13. Buy Toby an Orange Amp...Okay, I didn't technically buy it but through a variety of trades & misc. guitar work, he has managed to obtain an Egnator amp & an Orange Amp. Please don't ask me which one, because I have no idea. All I know is he got the amp(s) he wanted. So, mission accomplished on this one! :) (There's probably a noteworthy connection between my inability to save money & the fact that 1 of the 2 100% accomplished goals for 2012 resulted in Toby getting a couple of amps...just sayin' ;) 

I'm actually surprised as I go back through that list at what I was able to accomplish & at the progress I've made on the ones that are still "works-in-progress". Many of these I want to carry forward into 2013 (no more amps, Toby...please ;) 

In many ways, life didn't go as I expected after nursing school graduation. I took for granted how the whole process had changed me, the ones I loved & the dynamics of our family. Some of my ideas of how things would go proved to be unrealistic, others proved to be not what I wanted after all.  I, incorrectly, assumed that we would pick our lives up where we left off when I entered nursing school & just hit the "resume" button. I never took into account how different everything would be. Not different in a bad way, just different in a "we-have-to-learn-to-adjust" kind of way. Nursing itself proved to be everything I expected & nothing I expected all at the same time.

If I can set just one basic goal for 2013, it's that I want the 3 of us to make this adjustment & become comfortable in the new roles & dynamics of our family. Personally, I hope to find the balance between working mom, wife & nurse. It's a challenge right now, but I do love a good challenge :) 

How did your new year goals/resolutions go in 2012?  Any new ones for 2013? 

Happy New Year! 



Well Christmas has come & gone. Livi's birthday arrived & she's now a big gal all of 14 (when did that happen!?!?) And, it's time to think about a new year.

First, a few pictures from our festivities...

Dad & Livi....sorry, Dad, I had too.
This picture is just too darn cute! 

My niece, Kyanna, nephew, Draven & Livi

Happy Birthday, Jesus celebration at Mom's :) 

LiviGirl & LilyBug on Livi's 14th Birthday!

Being surrounded by these people that I love so much really makes the holidays so special for me!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Quiet Saturday Morning...

Good morning! It's a peaceful, quiet Saturday morning here in the King household. I'm currently the only creature stirring. After while, we're heading to my mom & step-dad's to celebrate Christmas with them. :) I love that they always do Christmas early in Dec. We get to enjoy time with them without feeling rushed because we have to go to someone else's house too. Years ago, when my brother & I first were married with kids, they started doing this to help ease the difficulties of getting all of our schedules to coincide. It has worked out perfectly!

On a much sadder note, LiviGirl has been sick for over a week. I think she's finally on the mend, but, boy!, has she had it. I don't care how old she is, it still breaks my heart when my "baby" is sick. She went nearly 3 days without eating a single thing! I've been really worried about her. She's lost so much weight (& she didn't have any to lose to begin with!). But she says she's feeling better & her appetite is slowly returning so maybe she's kicked it. I am so grateful that we have a wonderful doctor who is understanding & takes good care of her.

Back to happier stuff, I have been at my new job for over a week now. I'm sill in orientation, but I fairly certain I'm going to LOVE it!! Once again, God has put me in a position to work alongside people with beautiful hearts who truly understand why I wanted to be a nurse. With both jobs I have, God placed the perfect people in my path during my training. I never cease to be amazed at how He works. I really had to take a leap of faith by taking this job. Financially, it will be several more weeks before I know for sure whether or not it is a better job than the one I turned down. But, emotionally, mentally, physically, & spiritually, I already know that I made the right choice & there is a lot to be said for those aspects of a person's well-being.  I feel so blessed to have not one, but two, jobs I truly enjoy & that I get to work with & learn from some really incredible nurses!

Toby & I headed out yesterday to start our Christmas shopping & we managed to get started & finished all in one day. Long gone are the lists of this Barbie & that specific Littlest Pet Shop & this movie & this game...this year LiviGirl had 1 request: Beats Studio Headphones. Green ones to be specific. Unfortunately, they are OUTRAGEOUSLY priced! In her defense, I have tried them out & they are fabulous headphone, but still...Toby's earbuds came from Big Lots & cost $10 & work fine, just sayin'....Anyway, LiviGirl is convinced that this is what we bought her for Christmas since it was the one thing she REALLY wants. Of course, she also thinks that I forgot the incident a few weeks ago when her not-so-cheap Lady Gaga Beats landed in a glass of Coke & fizzled to the bottom of the I guess she'll have to wait & see. She is my Princess, but there are limits even for Princesses...

While we were out yesterday, it hit me that 5 years from now, I'll be preparing for her return home for the holidays after her 1st semester of college. WOW! Where have the years gone?!? I can't even imagine a Christmas season without her here helping me decorate & listening to her tell me what ornament she's adding to her advent tree each day. Some people would say I should've had more kids, but I'd never have had another Livi. And, frankly, I don't want more kids...I want my LiviGirl. If you have little ones at home, the best advice I can give you is "don't blink"...

Well, I'm off to work on making Crack Potatoes for our Christmas dinner today. I've never made them before but I've heard they are awesome. Guess we'll find out. If they're a hit, I'll add them over at Mom's Kitchen. In the meantime, here's a few quotes I've collected recently to close things out...

"What I wanted most for my daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be." ~ Helen Claes

"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice." ~ Wayne Dyer

"These are the few ways we can practice humility:

To speak as little as possible of one's self.

To mind one's own business.

Not to want to manage other people's affairs.

To avoid curiosity.

To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.

To pass over the mistakes of others.

To accept insults and injuries.

To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.

To be kind and gentle even under provocation.

Never to stand on one's dignity.

To choose always the hardest.” 
~ Mother Teresa, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living