Liebster Award

Welp…my blogging follower immalady has nominated me for a Liebster award (thank you!) and I will eventually nominate some people as well, as soon as I have a chance to read more blogs and follow more. I am still so new to this blogging thing! But I am more than happy to share my questions I was asked and also share what questions I would ask my nominees once I have them. So thank you so much for the nomination and my answers are below. Happy Sunday!!


My 11 Questions from immalady :

  1. What led you to start blogging?

Good question. I think my lack of time I have to scrapbook and my love of memories and passing things on to others. I used to scrapbook all the time, but I do not have a set place to do it, and I thin what I love about blogging is that it is like an “online scrapbook” about me that I can access pretty much anytime and anywhere. I LOVE that!

  1. What is your favorite part about blogging?

The fact that I can blog about ANYTHING I want to! If I have a whim that I want to write about something, then I can sit down and do it. I don’t have to follow any certain theme and that is something that moves me the most- my ability to share my thoughts on anything I choose.

  1. What is your go-to dish to take to a potluck or party?

I think because I live in Iowa, and because I live in the beef capitol of the state, loose meats a big thing for me. Easy, able to be taken in a Crockpot and not often replicated, they are an easy go to for me. Plus we have access to fresh beef straight off the feedlot so they are wayyyy better than store bought beef. I think those and Crockpot corn and noodles with cheese are my 2 favorites. I have teenagers so I cannot get too crazy with what I make.

  1. What is your must have beauty product?

I am trying to think of just one.. so hard! I would have to say in terms of my hair- my straightener…. which is not really a product but a tool! In terms of my face- my argan oil (Josie Maran) or my Younique moisturizer and make up primer. It is so necessary for the touch foundation. I love how little is needed. Definetely makes the face look flawless.

  1. Who is your dream dinner party guest?

Besides Jesus Christ (an easy go to.. who wouldn’t want to meet him??) I would love to have a chance to have dinner with my deceased grandparents as an adult. I would love to have them see where I live, what my children and husband are like, and see me as an adult. I did not appreciate them enough while they were here, so an opportunity to see them again would fill my heart. J

  1. What is one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?

Relax, slow down. You have the rest of your life to be an adult. Stop rushing it. I was an RN at 20 working full time, a wife at 22, and a mother at 23. I wish I had enjoyed the road to adulthood a little more and not tried to rush it so much. You have the rest of your life t be an adult. Enjoy the ride and don’t rush.

  1. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

DirtroadNightingale : Dirt road because I live in small town Iowa and have been raised in and lived amongst agriculture my whole life. I LOVE living in an agriculture state, being married to a farm manager and teaching my kids to respect our earth, the creatures on it and where our food comes from. Nightingale- I am a nurse! Wouldn’t have chosen any other career. I love caring for others and this is an ode to our founder, Florence Nightingale.

  1. What is the best blog post you’ve written so far? Share the link!

Uh… not sure? I guess maybe the one on my kids? Click here My sons …I think I would say that because they are my most important topic… but some one else may choose something I have written on fashion, or on something I cooked so I guess this is pretty subjective. I am happy to share though!

  1. Do you prefer to have a plan or be spontaneous?

Plan – always plan. If the plan does not work, make a new plan. But always always always have a plan!

  1. What is your most prized possession?

My children!! (do I possess them? In this case… yes) I am sooo proud of who they are and what they are becoming. I could lose everything else in my life but as long as I can say I have my children then I am okay. They are a little piece of me and I am forever proud of my legacy I leave on this earth through them

  1. What do you feel is most important for your blog readers to takeaway from your blog?

Be yourself! When I turned 40, I wanted a tattoo, so I got one! No regrets. If someone does not like it.. Oh well it’s not for them anyway. Embrace life, enjoy all that is around you, make a bucket list, live life fully and most importantly love yourself.

Questions for my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite place you have travelled to?
  2. If you could meet anyone, living or dead who would it be?
  3. If you have to eat one food daily in one of your meals for the rest of your life, what food would that be? What food do you think you could eat daily?
  4. What is your favorite movie you have watched and why?
  5. What do you want people to take away from your blog? What are you trying to get across to others?
  6. What do you like most about blogging?
  7. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
  8. If you had one full day all to yourself and no one around, how would you spend that day?
  9. What is your favorite blog post you wrote? Share the link…
  10. If you could live in any time period besides the one we are currently in, what time period would that be and why?
  11. What is your favorite season and why?

(some of you may have already been nominated for the Liebster Award or have more than 200 followers but if I follow your blog that is because I truly enjoy reading it!)

Thank you again immalady for noticing my blog and nominating me for this award! Thank you to everyone who has followed, liked, or commented .. I sincerely appreciate it!

Texas Travel part I

Well it is that time of the year again and we will be heading out for our usual spring vacation in a little over a month. Have I mentioned before that:

  1. I LOVE to travel and see new places and
  2. How much I love the process of planning for a new trip?

If you recall last year we headed to Florida… read my post on road trip preparation here Vacation preparation. We had such a great time road tripping there that we decided that this year we will again have a road trip vacation and are heading to Texas for a week. We have some parts planned and some not. Will have some overnight stays reserved and some not. The beauty of a road trip is that you can stop whenever and wherever you want and you get an opportunity to see so much of this beautiful country we call home. Nothing makes me happier than seeing new places, and since I have such a great respect for history, some of my favorite places are historical sights.

So the itinerary of what we plan to see so far is as follows!

Oklahoma City- I have planned to spend a night here and visit the historical sight of the Oklahoma City bombings. The link to the memorial is here: Oklahoma City Memorial

Dallas- Planning to stop by Cowboy Stadium even though there are no tours now as well as the Stockyards and JFK shooting memorial park. Links are here: JFK plaza and Fort Worth Stockyards

College Station- going to stop to see my brother-in-law and take the day from there.

Houston- stopping at the NASA space center and museum. Link is here: NASA Spacecenter

San Antonio- Riverwalk time! I have this on my bucket list and have been wanting to see it for years. Planning to see that and make a stop at the Alamo. Link is here: Alamo

So as you can see I am knee deep in the planning stages and I am so excited to report in after our travels are complete on everything we saw and experienced… I am so excited!

We have been so fortunate to have been able to take our kids on trips every year and have seen so many wonderful places since we have had them. Here is a list of places we have been in the past few years.. some have been with 2 of 3 kids, some after we had all 3, but we have fantastic memories from every trip we have taken.

*Paris, France (Clint and I on our honeymoon)

*Normandy and D-Day beaches (Clint and I)

*Atlanta, Georgia (multiple trips)

*Naples, Florida

*Orlando, Florida

*Phoenix, Arizona (multiple trips) and Grand Canyon

*Wisconsin Dells

*Cheyenne, Wyoming during the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo

*Skiing in Minnesota

*Mobile Alabama where we toured the USS Alabama

*South Dakota and all the points there to see (Mt. Rushmore, Devils Tower, Rapid City etc)

*Smokey Mountains in TN

*Nashville

*Washington DC

I have been to many other places pre-children as well and can tell you that in my opinion the best gift you can give your children is the ability to see the world. What a gift to say you have been all over our beautiful country! We have flown, driven, and can say our kids have road tripped all over the US. What a wonderful thing…

So as I prepare for our next journey – I will keep you posted along the way!

What places have you loved visiting? (I still need to get to the East Coast by the way- I have only been to Washington DC).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My bucket list for 2016 (and beyond)….

Soo… I think having a “bucket list” is so important. I also believe that it can be modified at any time. Things can be added and taken away. Things can be changed, molded, expanded upon and minimized. That is the beauty of a bucket list. So today … this day… this is MY list. Some I have achieved and some I have not. I reserve the right to change, modify and add or delete at any time. 🙂

I also want to add that posting this today… on the last few days of me being in my 30’s… is NOT a coincidence. I have so many life experiences I can look back on in the past 39 year that are huge victories for me. I also have some failures. But today I am doing one thing on my list I have wanted to do for the past 5 year. I am FINALLY getting the tatoo I have always wanted to get… but have been afraid to get, or have not made time to get. So today, by the end of the night I can say my appointment is done and I have checked yet another item off my list. So wish me luck! I am making the most of EVERY last minute of my 30’s!

My list of things to accomplish: (in 2016 and beyond)

*Highlighted items have been accomplished

Go to a musical with Addie

Get the tattoo I have always wanted

Take a girls weekend with my mom, sister, daughter and niece

Hold another lake weekend

Further my education

Take another road trip with my family

Go on a cruise

Take a helicopter tour

See Hawaii

Travel to the USS Iowa in honor of my grandfather, Leo

Get strong enough to slalom ski again

Take Addie to the Blue Bunny headquarters she has wanted to go see

Complete a 5K… running, not walking

Learn how to cook a beef brisket

See my sisters new house

Attend a wine tasting

Visit the east coast (Maine, Niagara Falls etc)

Give up pop for a month

Take my kids horseback riding at Jester Park

Eat at 5 new restaurants, HuHot, Runza, Cowboy Jacks,

Print off pictures of Nate for graduation

Clean out store room (yikes)

Make a new kind of cookie

Take more pictures with my DSLR

Use Instagram more

Write 20 blog posts this year (2016)

Pay it forward somehow- pay for someones meal? Donate?

Take Tyler alone to play basketball with me again

Take the kids to an ISU basketball game

Take the boys to see Cowboys stadium (a dream for them!)

Travel to New York

Read at least 3 books this year, The Wedding Dress, Miller’s Valley

Take the kids (one or all) fishing

Take the kids on a hike

Go have lunch with Lynn and Michelle- WC friends from way back

Go on a Segway tour

Make sure Addie gets to Washington DC like her brothers

See the Longaberger factory with mom (accomplished in 2015 but was on the list)

Go parasailing (accomplished in 2015 but was on the list)

Have a spa day

Have at least 3 date nights with Clint in 2016 (no kids!)

Get new flooring throughout upstairs of our house ($$$)

See the American Gothic house in Iowa

Take Nate on a college visit- 2 done, 3 more scheduled!

Zipline (accomplished in 2013)

Take Clint back to SD where he went with his dad (accomplished in 2013)

See at least 2 new Iowa sights this summer we have not been to before (not including Blue Bunny)

Complete sponsor couple training

Updated with highlights 2/26/2016

Updated 6/16/2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Nashville and girls weekends!

Well… It was a great weekend!

I have seriously forgotten how important time away with the girls is. It’s hard to leave, you wonder if your family will survive, you wonder if you have left enough food, you get calls and text messages from the kids saying they miss you, but in the end it is worth it. Every mom and wife needs time to herself. It seriously rejuvenates you and makes you a better person.

For me, I am with children all day. I work at an elementary school and I come home to my own kids who I shuttle around all evening. The weekends I’m consumed with being a mom and I never get a break where I am just with adults. This was my break.

The weekend started with a trip for dinner to the bonefish grill in Des Moines. Delicious! I don’t even EAT Fish, but the teriyaki chicken and rice was delicious. From there the eight of us went to the hotel to spend the night. Our flight left very early on Saturday and went through Chicago to Nashville. We left at 6:30 and were in Nashville by 10:30. Not bad! With carrying everything on and just one connection we had no glitches.

We checked into the Gaylord Opryland hotel. The lobby is gorgeous. They are just getting started on the process to set up for Christmas. The hotel sits on 9 acres. It has several atrium and garden areas which are beautiful to see. They include water fountains, a gondola ride and several  sitting areas and restaurants in the gardens. You could spend a day just exploring the hotel!

For more information click here: Gaylord Opryland Resort
If you’re in the Nashville area this is a hotel I highly recommend.

After checking in we walked next door to an adjacent mall area where we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant and did some shopping. It was a outlet type setting and had lots of shops to meet almost every need. It was fun to do the girl time shopping although I bought only a shirt because of my limited space with carrying on my bag.

After lunch we went back to the hotel and freshened up for a night on the town. We had to take a taxi downtown to the Nashville downtown nightclub area. My favorite bar was Tootsies! This place is great! Tons of live music, bands on every floor with at least four floors available, and bars on every level.

For more information click here: Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge

I love live music, and the genre would change based on the level you were on. Older country music was one level, newer another level and more hip hop another level. It was awesome! We spent a great deal of time here.

We also walk to other bars and had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant where we had reservations. But I think my favorite part was Tootsies. Note…., if you are at all claustrophobic you will not enjoy this place, they have so many people you can barely move. The later the night gets the tighter the space.

Getting up Sunday me and another girl headed to mass at a Catholic Church called Holy Name Catholic church in East Nashville. Being Catholic, it is important that you go to mass every weekend and I always find it fun to attend other parishes. It’s neat to see how universal our services are but how individual they also can be. We kind a taxi back to the hotel after mass and met up with the other girls for brunch.

After eating at the Opryland restaurant we headed back to the hotel to kill some time, have a drink and do some shopping on the grounds before we headed to the airport.

Then we caught our flight back to Chicago and then back to Iowa. It was a fun weekend for sure. Then it got interesting…

After we landed and got to short term parking- I found my car… with a flat.. at 1 am in an airport parking lot! Long… longgggg story shortened a bit here- get AAA. It is the BEST. Not only did they send someone out, but they felt having a young lady alone out driving on an interstate 60 miles home at 2 am was not safe. So they paid to have my van towed home. Myself and my co-pilot, Dawn rode all the way home in the tow truck. It was an adventure! Our driver and I discussed all the way home how he had broken up with his Hospice nurse girlfriend that morning.. and that there are indeed many other fish in the sea. 🙂

All in all a trip for the books. Girlfriend time is important… but nothing else feels quite as good as walking in your door to 4 family members waiting who missed you SO MUCH…. 🙂

Have a good week!

~Laura

 

 

Throwback Thursday photo, becoming a nurse

“To do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through, that is to be a nurse” ~Rawsi Williams

I cannot believe this was close to 20 years ago. Nursing has been such a rewarding profession that the time has flown by. Along the way I have witnessed life’s greatest miracles and life’s toughest losses. I have watched pain, and joy, sorrow and fear. I have seen complete joy at the best moments and anger at the worst. I have held someones hand as they experienced death, and I have held someones hand as they brought new life into this world. I was the “someone” for a patient that had no one, and I was the “someone” for a family who lost their only one. It has been hands down the greatest ride I could have possibly taken in this roller coaster we call life.

 

I was pinned as an RN in May of 1996. I was 20 years old at that time. In the span of 20 years I have worked in pediatrics, nursery, emergency services, medical surgery, oral surgery, maxillofacial surgery, in a joint unit, as a cardiac rehabilitation nurse and as a school nurse. Each position was unique and rewarding. Each position was one I learned something life changing from. I loved each position in its own way and I feel rewarded for choosing the career I chose.

I decided to post this throwback today in light of all the controversy around nursing lately. Nurses DO unite, nurse DO defend one another and more than any other field, nurses exhibit compassion toward others when others can’t.

So happy throwback Thursday photo! Here’s to nurses everywhere! I am proud to be a part of the greatest profession in the world….