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Saturday, April 30, 2011

All of my Friends are Pregnant

I am officially HALFWAY through my pregnancy.  

Yes, 20 weeks today.

It is going by so slow.  Seriously. 

But my little peanut is moving around a lot now. 

I love it.

PS. Her nickname is not officially peanut.
Nothing has stuck, but it sounded good this morning.


Earlier I mentioned how everyone and anyone is pregnant this spring and summer.  Its really true.  Even a lot of my blogging friends are expecting.  Heck, some of us are due the same week!  Its very exciting and its going to make for some very full kindergartens in a few years.

So, because so many of my friends are pregnant some are having babies right about now.  Its exciting.  I am loving the texts updating me of their cervix's status and contractions.  (Yes, I know I am completely weird.).  Just the other day one of my best friends gave birth to a beautiful baby boy after hours of texting her labor status back and forth and yesterday I got to meet the squishy, little, three day old fella.  Of course I brought my camera.


Isn't he amazing?  It makes my belly ache just looking at him.  In fact, I held him for a while on my belly while he slept.  His little feet were pushing into my stomach and my little baby was pushing right back against his feet from the inside.  She's staking an early claim in her mother's belly  from the inside apparently!

Hearing her stories of labor, delivery, and trials of the first night home from the hospital was very "real", to say the least.  Such descriptions blow all those television shows out of the water.  But best of all, it was incredible to hold such a tiny baby in my arms and imagine in just a few months my little girl will be here.  Never before that moment have I wanted to meet her so badly. 

Soon enough, as my dad says.

Oh, and in case you are wondering about how I took that photo...  
It was done simply with a blanket on her couch in the living room.  The editing, camera settings, and other details will be hammered out for a post in my photography blog (hopefully later today). 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Good Karma

I saved a slimy little worm on the pavement in my driveway from being squished by my tires as I left the house early in the morning.  There's nothing like starting out your day with a little good Karma, no matter how small it is.



Besides that little bit of good Karma here's what I have been up to this past week...

1.  Attending my LAST nursing classes and clinicals for my RN degree.  Man, is that the best feeling ever. 

2.  Shopping for more maternity clothes, since I am officially growing out of ALL my normal sized clothes now and the early pregnancy jeans I bought with my mother. 
3.  Getting all the health stuff required for my new job together (oh yeah, I haven't told you about that!... don't worry, I will when I have time to assemble a post about it).  But I will add that being pregnant is a pain in the behind when it comes to getting health screenings.  It basically equals more health screenings.

4.  Taking photos!  I have been out and about with my camera, finally, on the back roads around here as the world greens up.  Its like a breath of new life into me after such a long and distracting winter.  

5.  Sifting through girl names with my husband.  Surprise surprise... we are having a hard time coming to a consensus.  At least we have plenty of time. 

5.  I can't even remember what else...  

Pregnancy will do that to ya, apparently. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

All in the Name of Turkeys

This year I am clearly not hunting.  My ever increasing cardiac output and belly is making long treks in the woods and uphill rather difficult and uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean I don't want to be in the great outdoors!  So, instead I have been accompanying Shawn through the back roads of Central Vermont.  


Leaving our populated village and heading for the dirt roads has been fuel for my country loving soul.  We were on a mission in search of turkeys, but really I was set on taking in the scenery and feeling like we were back in the wilds of the North East Kingdom.  Its the long car rides where Shawn and I are at our best.  Sometimes couples simply can't exist in such a small and confining space, but for some reason that small space is where we have the best conversations and best moments of quiet togetherness.  

We stumbled across the Appalachian Trail along our journey.  It lazily zigzagged through the woods and crossed the road we were driving along.  Shawn, seeing a clearing in the woods along the trail, looked at me longingly to see if I wanted to stop and explore the land.  "Prime turkey area!" he insisted, but worried I wouldn't be up for the little hike.

Contrary to his thought I jumped at the idea and we hopped out of the truck and headed down the trail.  


Despite the overcast, almost drizzling, conditions birds of a dozen different species were singing wildly throughout the woods.  Soon we came out into a vast open field and the chorus of birds continued to herald our footsteps.  Such sweet serenity in the gray, still winter-dead, solitude of nature. 


No turkeys were in that field, but to me that didn't matter.  Breathing in the mountain air while wandering the world with Shawn was a thousand times more important.  The entire time he didn't mention the lack of turkeys, but rather kept a quiet disposition; his way of showing contentment and happiness.  Even without turkeys the place was perfect. 

We eventually headed back to the truck, seemingly refreshed, and continued our drive with no particular destination and pleasant conversation abound.  Nothing beats little moments like these.  


Monday, April 25, 2011

Busy and Brightening Up... via Camera Phone

It seems the last week I have been inside a hurricane.  There has been no time for anything I enjoy besides a couple of moments reading a book I am slowly progressing through late at night.  The rest of my time has been spent studying, completing busy work, finish end-of-the-semester papers, driving too and from clinicals, work, and wrangling myself a nursing job. 

Yes, there has been some ground made on that front, but more on that later.  

While I've been as busy as can be, watching the snow melt, and driving hither and yond early hours in the morning I've partaken in some beautiful landscapes that make me want to drop everything and go all willy-nilly with my camera.  Alas, I've had no time, and, more annoyingly, I've forgotten to even have my camera with me at all for the past week. 

In lieu of my camera I've at least snapped a couple photos on my iPhone that I thought I'd share, because now that the snow is melting the world seems to be becoming a lot more photogenic.





It seems I'm never too busy to some how, some way, take a photo.
That's a good thing. 

And I cannot wait to dedicate some time with my real camera.
Its going to happen very soon!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Dog? Bad Dog? Its Just Too Easy.

I was only gone for an hour.  The dogs had been blessed with the opportunity to stay upstairs, out of their crates, in the living room.  That is a big deal for the little terrors, but they had been well behaved lately and I was in a good mood... until I returned home that is.

This is what I found on one of the couches in the living room...


Yup, that's what you think it is.  Pee.  On my couch.  That's one of the best ways to put me in a bad mood.  

Now which of our two darling dogs committed this act of defiance on my furniture?



I don't think it was this one, whom barely budges when I mutter obscenities and curse myself for leaving the butt-heads out of their crates while I was gone.  

So where's my other dog...? The beagle is missing. 


Ah ha....  there she is.


Yeah, I think you're the guilty culprit missy.  Nice try. 

Guess who gets to be in the crate next time? 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Gender Reveal!

Seeing the baby for the second time was just as great as the first.  My eyes welled up at the first site of the little babe tossing and turning around on the screen (darn hormones).  This time, unlike the first visit, I could feel some of the movements.  Out of the corner of my eye Shawn, who had positioned himself in the corner of the room by my feet, was grinning ear to ear watching her check every bit of the anatomy and I again felt my heart and eyes well up with joy. 

Brain, face, heart, lungs, stomach, kidneys hands, arms, legs, and feet....   all there, all functioning.

My Fuzzy little Muffin... but that's how the photo was printed.

I was getting a little impatient as the ultrasound tech went through head to toe and bypassed the gender.  They must be saving the most exciting part for last! ...so I told myself.  Turned out the little baby was actually cross-legged as could be and pretty much sitting on its little feet.  I thought for sure that I would leave the appointment not knowing and be in suspense another 22 weeks.  

I simply can't deal with that. 

"Go empty your bladder and give your belly a couple of shakes and pokes while you're at it."  The tech said with a slight breath of frustration.  She knew I really wanted to know the gender too, and was going to give my belly one last prod before calling it quits.

A few minutes later the ultrasound resumed.  Legs still crossed.  A tiny little foot smack in the way as the baby sat cross-legged and comfy as can be.  The ultrasound tech began shaking my belly like it was made of jello.  With those movements the baby changed positions and straightened both legs nicely.

And just like that the mystery was solved.


Because now we know....





And now the name game begins!  And the nursery planning! 
Oh, goodness me I am excited!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is it a Boy or Girl?!

I have been counting down to this day for weeks.

Ok, months. 

To say I am excited is an understatement because, today is the day, should our little babe cooperate, where it's gender will be revealed!  

But before you chastise me (because some have)...

Yes, I want to know the sex.  
So many people have asked me why and offered their personal experiences of why not knowing the sex was such a wonderful surprise.  The entire time smile and nod and then politely explain my reasoning.  I  want to personify my womb with a him or her, rather than "it".  I want to decorate the nursery in a personal way for the baby and not be limited to gender neutral themes.  I want my friends to be able to give gifts and not be confined to gender neutral items, either.  

Yes, I know its not 100% accurate.
I will see how sure the ultrasound looks for gender diagnosis before discounting the prediction.  

Is all that selfish?  Perhaps, but its an option that I am given and not going to pass up.  In my mind it only makes the pregnancy more enjoyable than it already is (which is pretty darned enjoyable, actually).  Either way, I am positively giddy in anticipation of today's appointment.  If anything I'll at least get to see the little munchkin squirming away and have some more ultrasound photos.  

 My little bambino/bambina and I at 18 weeks


Some of you may be wondering...  What do think I am having?  
Truth be told I have no idea and the wives tales haven't been too helpful.

And I am wondering... What do you think I am having?  
Given some facts about my pregnancy thus far that are answers to several wives tales.
  • I haven't had any dreams indicating a sex of the baby. 
  • I'm craving milk, anything with tomato sauce, and nuts. 
  • The baby kicks more on my right side then left
  • Its more active in the afternoon than morning
  • I didn't have any morning sickness (praise the lord!)
  • Shawn isn't sympathetically gaining weight with me (but I don't mind)
  • My belly is shaped like a basketball
  • I can't tell if I'm carrying high or low.  Look at the picture and you tell me.
  • I've only had the chance to listen to the heartbeat once and it was 150
  • I feel like I look more amazing than ever
  • If you can't tell from my photo I think my belly is huge, but I don't have experience to compare to. 
  • The Chinese Gender chart predicts a boy.
  • I have not done the drain-o or wedding ring test.
I'd love to hear what you think the baby might be!  And if you know any other wives tales about predicting the gender let me know.  They are quite interesting. 

And no worries, I'll share the result of the ultrasound soon.  If you happen to know already (as in my close friends/family) please don't spoil it! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

No One Said Firefighters Could Spell

A firefighter can rescue someone, put out a fire, and essentially save the day, but spelling isn't necessarily a requirement for the job.  See example below:


This is the sign on a door for a class at the Northeast Kingdom Mutual Aid Fire School that I am sorely missing this year.  Every spring for two days the highschool becomes a gathering place for all the local firefighters to congregate and socialize while taking a few specialized training courses. 

Its where you see all the people you only see at structure fires in the middle of the night.  Heck, most everyone there is friends, even.  There's a lot of firm handshakes and back slapping that goes on.  This year I live almost two hours away from where the school is held so its not feasible for me to travel to it, but seeing this photo makes me smile knowing that all my buddies, some of the "Good 'ol Boys" of Vermont haven't changed and probably never will.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

About to get my NCLEX on.

Is it really that time?  

Am I really going to be done nursing school in just three weeks?!  

Why, yes. Yes I am!

*giddy squeal*

God, I am so excited to have a life again.  Just in time to welcome a new life into the world.  Funny how that works, isn't it?

Anyway...

Graduation is all but sealed, even if I bomb my final exam, so with that said I am now getting into full blown NCLEX mode.  I haven't scheduled my test date yet, but hope to within the next couple of weeks.  So, before my baby brain encompasses me completely I have gone on a shopping spree for study guides rather than maternity clothes, much to my chagrin depending on the moment. 


Honestly, I'm a giant nerd.

Seeing this two books, freshly pressed and wrapped in plastic, gives me goosebumps.  The unknown of the pages makes me swell with excitement and anticipation and I can't wait to break into them as soon as I finish one last large assignment this weekend.  

There is officially something wrong with me. 

But I'm okay with that, because these books aren't cheap.  The pair cost almost $100, which makes me cringe thinking about all the maternity outfits I could have bought for the same price.  This is a much better investment, though, and I'll wear the same darned pair of jeans everyday if need be to get my money's worth of these books. 


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Following Directions

People never read signs.  And heck, when you do read signs it always seems like more of a suggestion we can defy rather than legitimate advice.


Just three sheets of paper at a time?  That doesn't seem like a lot.  I bet I can fit more than three in there.  What about ten?  Lets try ten.

That's the mental processing that goes through one's head when disregarding a friendly, smiley face laden warning. Obviously we are not meant to learn from others mistakes....


And the result of ignoring such a message is a good twenty solid minutes of battle with the shredder while wielding a letter opener.

In the end we were victorious.  And being the smart EMTs that we are we decided a more direct warning might be more effective, because really the shredder can't handle more than THREE pieces of paper.  Ever.  No matter who you are. 


Hopefully that exclamation point is more effective than the smiley face for the next guy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Found Them - EMS Maternity Pants

After weeks of searching and with frustration that was growing almost as fast as my belly I finally stumbled on the Holy Grail of maternity clothing, pants perfect for an EMT carrying a growing babe in her belly. I didn't find them through any of the traditional EMS clothing, but rather a store I used to swear I'd never buy clothing from. Wal Mart.

I've had a disdain for Wal Mart for years; for its crowded aisles, cheap products, and overall shady business practices. Despite all of that the store has now become my professional savior when I discovered these maternity cargo pants. 


Why these pants are so great:
The fit is amazing.  They seriously are probably the most comfortable pants I have ever worn.  The elastic band that is snug enough so I won't have to worry about my pants falling down, but never once irritated my ever expanding belly.  Around the legs and butt aren't too tight so I can easily maneuver should I need to on an ambulance call.  All the crouching, climbing, and unusual positions this jobs affords me means I need some seriously non-constricting pants.  Oh, and the best part is they are only $18 and Wal Mart charges just 97 cents for shipping.  Cheap? Comfortable? Professional?  Absolutely!

Before I had these pants I was honestly feeling like I would have to either find a taylor or not be able to work as long as I wanted because of a lack of an appropriate uniform option.  I mean, I couldn't just work all day with my pants unzipped!  Now I feel like I could go right up to mid-September without skipping a beat.  Hey, never say I'm not an optimist. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Networking and The Truth about Nursing Jobs

I am not a fan of networking, honestly.  Mostly its a fear developed from never having to participate in it to get myself ahead.  Thanks to nursing school, however, my entire class and I were forced to network and make connections at a nurse leadership conference in Burlington a couple days ago.  As the day of the conference loomed closer and closer I grew more nervous and apprehensive.  My disdain for the simple word "networking" grew out of ignorance and inexperience of what it actually entailed or could proliferate. 


For all my worrying, wondering, and unknown I traversed my first episode of networking was fairly awesome because...

  • I discovered that despite being pregnant I can look amazing and feel amazing in business clothes
  • Its a lot easier to face an unknown situation with strange people when you are with amazing women like the ladies in my nursing class.
  • I am way more outgoing than I realized
  • The people that can offer you jobs really aren't that intimidating, especially when you're eager and smiling back at them.  
  • Putting a face to your resume is priceless.  
So overall, despite the hours of sitting and power-point presentations that made my med/surge nursing class seem like a carnival at times, it was a great experience where I made several great connections and a possible job opportunity.  I stress possible, because I also learned something very valuable and disheartening at this conference....

There is not a shortage of nurses in this area, but rather a shortage of nursing jobs for new graduates.  The multitude of nursing positions available are for experienced nurses.  I've already been turned down for an emergency room position due to my lack of nursing experience.  EMS experience was irrelevant.  Time and time again I talked to many nursing professionals and Chief Nursing Officers.  They all spoke of hiring freezes or anticipated openings, but nothing at this time.  Despite the sour news I continue to send out my resume in hopes that perhaps someone will consider an inexperienced nurse.  One can't ever get anywhere without first putting yourself out there.  

The worst they can say is no, right? 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One Day Left.

If you haven't already visited my Review Blog I wanted to remind you that there is just ONE day left for you to comment and have a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!  Hopefully you don't miss out.  Never can know when the next sponsored review will be :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cupcakes via USPS

Reason #7,928 why I love my mother.


She not only mails me home made cupcakes, but she mails me a kit of home made banana cupcakes complete with a separate frosting package. Every year she makes me these for my birthday, even if they arrive a month late I don't mind. They are amazing and completely made from scratch. We discovered over the years that if you frost the cupcakes before mailing them it makes for a complete and utter melted mess of goo in the bottom of the container.  Its been a process of perfect, which these cupcakes now are.  

I only hope that I can do stuff like this for my kid twenty six years from now :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Little PSA

There are a lot of things I have a strong opinion about.  While I may not always voice those opinions there is one thing I have always preached and will never stop hounding people about...

Seat belts.

Wear your dang seat belts.

This is why


This person rolled over three times at interstate speeds (that's about 65mph around these parts) and landed on the driver's side.  Thanks to wearing a seat belt I showed up bright and early on this frosted morning, did an assessment, and this person was able to sign a piece of paper and get on about making the morning and the car right-side up without a trip to the hospital... much less any sort of serious injury. 

At 65 miles an hour without wearing a seat belt and rolling over three times I don't think I need to describe the likely injuries that could result...

There is really no reason to not wear your seatbelt or for your children to not wear a seatbelt.  I've heard every excuse in the book why people do not want to wear their seat belt.  I'm too fat, I'm pregnant, the seat belt irritates me, I was just going two miles down the road, I just took it off to do something... and so on.  All nonsense. For the record I always wear my seat belt, even if I am just driving to the post office a little over a quarter mile away. 

Please, if you don't already wear you seat belt.  Buckle-up. 

And if you have a story to about how wearing a seat belt saved your life or made the difference between serious injury and walking away from an accident please share it! Maybe it will encourage people to buckle up if there are more voices on the subject.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Most Productive Day Ever

Do you ever just have one of those days where you are on a roll and you feel like a superstar who can accomplish anything? Well, yesterday I had one of those days and it was uncanny the amount of stuff I was able to accomplish.  Heck, I wasn't even at home.  While my partner slept through a boring, call-less day at the station I was busy as could be doing things like this:

No, I wasn't out traversing snow covered fields away from the station.  The fields are actually muddy and brown, about as unphotogenic as they could possibly be now.  Rather I was parked at my computer editing mounds and mounds of photos that have been looming on my hard drive like little gremlins haunting me.  They are now all sorted, edited, resized, and finished.  Phew.  Done.  Now its time to take more!

You can view ALL my photos on my photo website 
And all my latest photos are also on my facebook page!

Not only that, but I finished two nursing school assignments early. (gasp).  Took care of some EMS related business dealing with getting licensed in New Hampshire.  Why must I have a Vermont, National, and NH EMS card to work and why must each one have different requirements?  Ugh...   

Oh, and I worked on a impromptu photo session that I held a week ago with a friend in her living room after we ate lunch together.  Lets just say they turned out amazing and make me swell with happiness every time I see them.  I swear being pregnant has nothing to do with it, but it might help.


Nothing like a little impromptu-ness, whether its a photo shoot or unexpected day of accomplishment (or both!) to make you smile and feel right in the world. Hopefully your day will be like that, too!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Glowing.

After an incredible weekend spent with my mother allowing the glow of pregnancy to radiate from my pores I realized a few things...

1.  I absolutely am loving being pregnant and feel gorgeous now that I am out of that "is she pregnant or  just fat?" stage.

2.  Maternity pants are the most absolute comfortable thing ever created.  Why do women not wear these all the time?!

3.  I've never felt sexier in a one piece bathing suit and fully intend to submerge my very pregnant self in the water this summer.  

4.  I have the appetite of a hippopotamus.

5.  There is not a Babies R Us store within a hundred miles of here.  Toys R Us is not the same thing...

6.  All weekend long I did not take one. single. photo.  Ugh. 

It was absolutely a fantastic mother-daughter time complete with lots of conversation, advice, food, walking, bonding, and shopping.  The best part was scouring the little tiny outfits.  The miniature shoes, and frilly little dresses.  We oohed and ahhed and suppressed every maternal urge to buy an entire wardrobe of newborn clothing, but it made everything just so much more real (as the baby flutters in my belly...)

With school ending soon, graduation pending, and lots of free time on my horizon that I haven't known since the beginning of 2009 I am beyond excited to be able to fully enjoy my current physical state.  Everything is going to culminate in to a state of euphoria and awesomeness in the next few weeks.  We will determine the baby's gender, school will end, possibly a new job (one can hope my resumes/applications will be answered with interview requests!), and spring will finally officially arrive.

Yes, I know its already April 5th and several weeks into "spring", but you have to understand that its not really spring.

Not when this is what I see outside my window...


But, I am looking past all this white crap on my lawn towards everything awesome that is soon to come!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dedication

The "huge" storm the other day was a complete and utter dud.  Instead of a winter wonderland on the first day of April I woke up to the sweet pitter-patter of rain and big, sloppy, wet, and melting snow flakes.  The fallacy of the forecast causes me no dismay.  I'll gladly watch the snow continue to melt.


However, as wonderful as the first signs of true spring and snow melt are they also herald in one of the most pain in the ass seasons ever, especially in my line of work.   You probably know what I am referring to...

Mud Season.


Let me tell you... there are places that an ambulance goes that  you can't even imagine exist.  Dirt roads off a dirt roads.  Places where even locals give up and park their cars at the bottom of hills and trek to their homesteads.  Pregnant EMT Jen doesn't like to walk carrying arm loads of equipment up muddy hills  to reach patients (heck, unpregnant EMT Jen doesn't enjoy that either) so the ambulance traverses the untraversable.  

Even if it means getting half way up a muddy and icy hill, getting stuck, having to connect a chain to the ambulance, and pulling it the rest of the way up by a truck just to reach a patient's house.  True story. 

EMS = More dedicated than the postal service. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Well Aren't You Guys Helpful?!

Thank you for everyone who gave me awesome advice for my post yesterday.  Trust me when I say that it will absolutely come in handy and I know that I can look to you guys as my belly and baby grow to help with all the unknowns.  Its nice knowing that even though I have been reading books and am (almost) an RN, its so great to hear real advice and tips since I really have no clue what I am doing.  All of it is helpful so keep it coming, please! 


On another note...  There are TWO fun things going on around here that you can participate in and win stuff!  By stuff I mean money, and who doesn't need that?  If you don't then please send your excess to my paypal account.  I am shopping for two now :)

  • New Monthly Photo Assignment!  Did you forget or not even know I host one of those?  Just click the photo assignment tab at the top of the page or this link HERE to go directly.  Its fun, a great way to learn and share your photos, and you may just win a prize at the end of the month.  You don't have to be a professional or even a great photographer in your mind to necessarily win! 

  • My Review Blog!  For another week and a half I am still accepting entries for a $100 Visa Gift.  Check out my review and leave a comment to be entered.  That's all you have to do. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Oh My... What to Buy?!

Ok... so I know many of you who read this blog are moms or are further along in pregnancy than I am and I seriously need your advice!  We are going maternity and baby shopping and this is why...


That's quite a bump I'm growing there.  If you look closely my shirt isn't quite covering it entirely either.  So, I am hoping to remedy that this weekend with the purchase of a maternity wardrobe.  That way I can finally wear something other than my pajamas and feel comfortable. 

But...  (and this is where you experienced moms come in)  I really don't know what is essential to buy when you are pregnant.  Plus, my mother is only up for this one weekend to shop with me.  

So, please share your advice to this naive first time momma-to-be...

What clothes will I definitely need?  
Any pregnancy items that are a must have? 
What are the first things you start buying for the baby? 
Anything else I should know?
I've never set foot in a maternity store so I am flying blind with my mother.  Granted she has birthed three daughters, but I know styles and products have changed a lot in the last two decades.  Its going to be an adventure for sure and I can't wait to see what you guys suggest!