Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Las Vegas!!

I would love to say that we went to Vegas for Jacob's 30th birthday, but truth is he had to go for business meetings and I tagged along for the fun! We still celebrated his birthday there. Every second that he wasn't in meetings, we were enjoying Vegas!  When he was in meetings, I was hanging out by the pool at the Mirage, where we were staying.  It was beautiful!  I must say....Alabama has hot summers, but Nevada has hot summers too! Everyone kept saying that with the decreased humidity there that it wouldn't feel as hot, but with temperatures over 100* everyday...it didn't matter...it was HOT!
Staying on the strip was so much fun.  Everything was at our fingertips.  We walked the strip every  night.  Going into almost each casino, giving them a little of our hard earned cash.  We gambled a little and lost every dime.  We mostly played the 25 cent slots and 3 card poker.  I can see how people get addicted to gambling.  It can be fun...but it really hurt my feelings to lose our money and never hit it big.  We didn't get carried away and lose too much.

 While I really did enjoy every minute of our little get away, this evening was my favorite of the entire trip....
We ate dinner at Top of the World restaurant, which is more than 800 feet in the sky. It had breathtaking views and the food was delicious.  We watched the sunset as we slowly revolved in the sky, getting a full 360 view of all that Las Vegas had to offer.  Even though it was a splurge, it made for a very romantic dinner and wonderful evening.









After that amazing dinner, we hit up Fremont Street which was different than the strip.  Jacob and I thought it was super fun and we stayed until the early morning hours.

I really enjoyed The Golden Nugget casino, I thought it was a very classy and beautiful casino.  However I wasn't able to get rich quick while we were there.

We stayed at the beautiful Mirage
We went one day to the Hoover Dam.


 Of course we walked the strip quite a bit...
And we rode the roller coaster at New York New York
watched the gorgeous water show at the Bellagio
This is just too funny to not share...conversation between me and my sisters.  They keep me rolling!
I was so excited. Drinking my diet coke from a REAL glass, eating my snack mix and spreading out in the roomy seats....Jacob slept.

We had a blast in Vegas!  I'm happy as long as I'm with him!


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Monday, July 28, 2014

the prep work is over.

When Dr Sawyer suggested last fall that I become a lactation consultant for her pediatric clinic, I liked the idea.  I had 9 years experience working with breastfeeding mothers, nursed my 2 children & thought that breastfeeding IS the best form of nutrition for baby & has many health benefits for mom as well.

Little did I know how intense the journey would be. I wrote about it in March. It's easy to say that you know a little about breastfeeding, but being an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) is a much more intense, in-depth expert in lactation and breastfeeding.  I have spent the last 9 months preparing for this international board exam.  I have been blessed to share this journey with 5 other former co-workers.  Starting in January we did monthly 4-hour study group sessions.  The 2 weeks immediately prior to the exam we have met for all day study sessions. Of course I have been independently reading and studying on my lunch breaks and when the family goes to bed and the house is quiet.  I have looked at disgusting images, answered hundreds of practice questions, read tender stories and been totally amazed at what God made the body to do.  I've learned some amazing things on this journey.  It has only validated my original feelings of the importance of breastfeeding.  I hope to support, educate and help mothers in our area (where we currently have NO lactation consultants) to breastfeed their baby's.  And to also help my nurse friends navigate through what is best for our patients and babies.

In just a few short hours, I will be taking my lactation consultant international board exam.  Please pray for me and all my potential colleagues that will be testing today around the world.  That's right, today there will be people in China, India, England, Argentina, Mexico, etc!  Isn't that cool!?!  I guess the point is that we all have the same goals.  

I am nervous.  I am battling the self-doubt.  All I can hope and pray is that I have prepared enough.  Thank you in advance for your moments of prayer for me...I greatly appreciate it.

Here are memories of my preparation journey...
Study group with Marie Biancuzzo during a Exam Review course in Atlanta
After 11 hours of studying...our minds were so tired.
Studying in Atlanta at a Exam Review course in March
Our study corner where we met to do most of our studying this year.  
During our last 2 cram sessions, Chris was nice enough to invite us into her home.
Midnight snack while studying


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Friday, June 6, 2014

Quick trip to Baltimore & Washington DC

Jacob and I had the opportunity to go on a quick trip to Baltimore earlier this summer.   
I jotted down a little timeline while we were there...

Day 1:
It was the 1st time I had flown...that I can remember.  I think I had a couple times as a kid.
3:30am- wake up, get ready, hit the road.
5am-arrive at airport.  check in. security.  Chick-fil-A breakfast.  Score a window seat!  Overly excited as I watch a gorgeous sunrise.
6:10am-I was impressed that our 6am flight was prompt in leaving on time.
 6:30am-Jacob snoozes on the flight.  Me?  I am taking the coffee and peanuts (don't even eat peanuts, but it was part of the experience, right?!?

10ish- land in Baltimore.  Head to DC, excited that we have the entire day ahead of us and wanting to cram in all that DC had to offer.  Relying only on iPhone GPS, we get stupid-lost trying to get downtown as our GPS was contradicting what the road signs were saying.  In Jacob's defense, he is a great driver and usually easily navigates congested, confusing downtown roadways.  But DC was so screwed up.  Before we found a parking spot we were both pissed.  Even though I wanted to make the most of this day #1, we both were agreeing {in an argumentative way} that this was a bad idea!  We park in an underground parking deck and hope we can remember how to get back to our unfamiliar rental car.   15 minutes after parking, Jacob is tired of walking and announces that he has no interest in walking in all these museums.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
 12:00pm- Pass the castle.  I was most excited to visit the Holocaust Museum.   {In high school, I usually stuck to a couple topics for book reports, history project, etc.  I'm a Helen Keller and Holocaust wiz!}  I was disappointed to learn that I was supposed to already have gotten tickets to go into the 2-story exhibits.  So we just stuck to the main floor.  I was interesting what we did get to see.
 2pm-Even though Jacob's legs were about to fall off him, we made our way to the WW2 & Lincoln Memorial.  I enjoyed them all.  My papaw fought in WW2. Jacob's grandfather was in the National Gaurd for several years. We have a great deal of respect for our veterans & current soldiers.  It was humbling to see these memorials.
Selfie with Abe!
 3:00pm- our chicken biscuit from this morning was long gone, we were starving.  We found a Five Guys near where our car was.  We scarfed those burgers down and hit the road.  As frustrated and pissed off as we were navigating to DC, it was worse trying to make our way to our hotel in Baltimore.  After that stupid iPhone GPS got us making several wrong turns, we ditch the GPS and Jacob just uses the road signs to get us on the correct hwy.  NOW, we are stuck in traffic.  Shoot us.  What should've been a 40 minute straight shot, turned into an almost 2 hours of grumbling, huffs, puffs, a little cussing and silent treatment until we both started dosing off.  Remember, we had been going hard for a full 12 hours at this point.  Due to traffic, we were going a steady 15-20mph the entire time.  When we got close to the hotel, Jacob got a little over zealous & jumped the curb because he was so excited to be out of that car and finally to our destination!  Our room was nice.  It was directly next to the Camden Yards, home of the Orioles. {{FUN FACT: Jacob & I, along with our church youth group sang the national anthem on that field about 12-14 years ago!  They weren't playing any home games while we were there or else we would've tried to go to a game.}}

6pm-get ready for dinner.  Jacob picked out our dinner plans after seeing this ad in the plane magazine...
7:15pm-return the rental car.  Go on my 1st taxi ride to the restaurant.  Interesting.  Expensive.  So glad I have my own car and don't have to do that daily!  Dinner at The Prime Rib was amazing!  Delicious.  Romantic.  Fun.  

9:20pm-After sitting in the car earlier and that expensive cab ride, we decided to walk back to our hotel room.  It took us an hour. Only saw 1 homeless man sleeping. But the nighttime, city walk was nice.  The row houses were cool & different from what we are used to.  It felt good outside.  Although Jacob's legs were tired and hurting, he made it, with less complaints or maybe I had tuned them out.  Either way, I really enjoyed our long walk back. 
Day 2:
9am-It was cool and drizzly, but I refused to stay in the hotel room.  I went on a long run around the Inner Harbor, stopping only to explore the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse. It was maybe my most enjoyable 5 miles ever!
12pm-shower.  Eat this amazing sushi at Edu Sushi.  I had the Harbor Maki.  My mouth is watering thinking about it.  So delicious.  I then explored the shops at the Inner Harbor.  Took a nap.
 6:15pm- Got ready. After sitting in the lobby, watching it POUR down rain, I was praying it would stop soon so we could explore the inner harbor a little more. It finally did clear up.  I picked out this night's restaurant.  Phillips Seafood.  It advertised the best crab cakes, I wanted to be the judge.   I must say it was pretty dang perfect.  I ate the "Ultimate Crab Cake"  8oz of crab meat, mac & cheese, asparagus.  Then finished it with a bourbon cookie pie with ice cream.  Holy-moly was it good!
 Day 3:
9am-ridiculously expensive breakfast at the hotel restaurant. lesson learned.
10am-taxi to airport.
11am-because our boarding passes had us boarding last, Jacob and I weren't able to sit together...not even close.
2pm-got our girls, gave extra lovin, hugs & kisses.  We were so happy to see them!

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