Back to school… Back to school…

 

I have been wanting to go back to school for a long LONG time. I am not wanting to do anything new, just advance my degree as a nurse. This is one of those bucket list items I have always had on the back burner.

 

I have been so afraid to take the leap. I am not sure why… but somewhere along the way I have started to doubt my abilities in myself. I have told myself that I cannot possibly work full time, be a good mom and better myself. I have told myself that I am setting myself up to fail and that I cannot possibly do well as a student 20 years after graduating from college the first time. I have told myself that BETTERING myself (for some stupid reason or another) deprives my children of my attention and means I will miss out on being there for them and being a part of their growing up.

 

You know what? I was WRONG.

 

I have been back to school for only a few weeks. I have written two papers in that time and tonight I will be taking my third test and moving into my fourth section. I have received all A’s and one B.

 

I have been to every sporting even since I started, have not missed a single thing my kids have going on and actually seem like a BETTER mother since I started.

 

Why? Here are a few reasons…

 

  1. My kids see me trying to better myself, and that makes them proud. My son actually helped me with the format of my first paper, and my other son proofread it. Both my boys were as excited to see my grade post online as I was. Together we tackled one of my greatest fears in trying to succeed and they were proud of me. Let me stress that again… proud. Proud enough to share my grade with other people.
  2. My kids see me stress the value of lifelong learning and education. Do I need to be in school? Probably not. Do I want to be so that I can earn more, elevate myself in my position and increase my knowledge in the medical filed? Yes. They see me trying to learn and grow… and they see the value in it for themselves and their future.
  3. My children see that placing value on myself is important too. I am a good mom, cheerleader, wife, employee and etc. I take care of everything my family needs and make sure to be at every concert, game, meeting, church event, professional event for my husbands…. but what about valuing things that are important to me? They finally see me placing value on my own interests and that is pretty cool.
  4. They see me utilizing good time management skills. No I cannot watch TV, I have homework. Yes, I can go to the movies tonight because I got all my homework done last weekend. No, I cannot watch that show until I have my paper done. etc. etc. They see me balancing work and family and school and that it CAN be done and time can be managed effectively so everyone wins.
  5. They see me reading. I have to admit… I have not always been the best reader. I would call myself mediocre at best. I would sometimes read for fun, but it was not something my children saw me do on a regular basis. Now they see me taking the time to read… and carry on conversations about what I am learning about. It is a bonus when my kids can talk to me about what I am learning, because it is something they recently learned about too.

 

So as I approach the mid point of my first class back in school… Philosophy… I am proud to say that I am ROCKIN this back to school thing. I will continue to hack away at classes as long as I have the energy to. And to those neighsayers out there who say things like “why would you want to go back to school??? Ugh….” I say….

 

BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN MYSELF AND I WANT TO BE THE BEST ME I CAN BE.

 

Until next time-

 

~Laura

Advertisements

Growing up.. thoughts on his last year…


Do you know what this is? This is a photo and a mother hugging her son after his last high school football game he will ever play. Standing by the bus to tell him I know he will miss it… but he has big things ahead of him. This is a mother who is giving her son a hug after watching him for the past 11 years go from flag football to middle school football to tackle football. This is a mother whose heart is breaking and at the same time is swelling with so much pride she doesn’t know what to say to her son. This is me. 

I am not wanting to wish things away.

 As you can see I have been pretty much absent since this summer. I am 100% positive this is because of the fact that I have a senior at home and I am wanting to enjoy every minute of his last days under my roof before we send him off for college. It’s not that I do not like to blog, and it is not that I don’t have topics I want to share… but it is more the fact that when I am not cheering him or his younger brother on from the stands at their MULTIPLE sporting events I am enjoying every moment of having him at home.

 We have done all the mandatory things parents of seniors need to do. Senior pictures have been taken, ordered and picked up. College visits done (I really should do a blog post on that!) a college has been chosen and his housing deposit has been sent in. I am on his prom planning committee and prom planning is full on in the works and is going forward full steam ahead.

I have been told many things as a parent of a child leaving the nest. I have been told the junior year is the hardest. I would actually agree because I think you spend the junior year worrying about what is to come and knowing that everything is the “last” of each event. Whereas the senior year you actually spend time enjoying it because it is their last of each thing.

 I have also been told that God in all his infinite wisdom prepares you for this next step by making the child spread his/her wings a little and they end up pushing back. This pulling away prepares you to give them a push. I would agree with this too. My son is becoming increasingly more independant in his thinking, in his actions and in his mindset. He is pushing back more than he ever has and in doing so… makes it easier for me to say “it is time for you to go”.

My mind set is shifting. I am seeing myself start to prepeare for weekend college visits to take my son to Target for essentials and out to eat. I see myself mentally shopping for his dorm and moving his old bedroom upstairs so my other son can have the coveted “basement bedroom”. I see myself shifting my mindset to “will he call?’ vs. “you must call”. I know the power is shifting into his hands. He will no longer NEED me to make decisions for him anymore. They are his own.

 Don’t get me wrong- I wish I could keep my kids at home with me forever. But I know that my job is to raise them to be smart, respectful, capable human beings. I know that I have to let go…. eventually… of the past little boys and girls that I have in my mind. Gone are the days of match box cars and sticky fingers, sippy cups and Teletubby videos. I have to force myself to look at my son as a young adult and not as a young man. But it is so tough to let go sometimes.

 So I apologize for my absence. It will get better I am sure when my time is not so focused on enjoying every moment. Until then hold your kids tight, tell them you love them and they are capable and enjoy the moment. It goes so very fast.

 Until next time-

 ~Laura

Texas Travel part II

Wow. Where HAVE I been???? I know I know, but it has been really hard to get on as much as I have wanted to. It seems like I got back from Spring Break in Texas and then travel basketball started and in a blink of an eye summer was here. So my apologies, but time has just gotten away from me. It happens.

So instead of a big long post all about our trip and how I felt about the whole trip you get a brief summary of the things I remember. Its the best I can do. But I know you busy moms out there in the same boat as me will understand. We got each others back, right?

“And Jesus Wept” statue at the Catholic Church across from the OKC bomb site and memorial. We visited here on Palm Sunday for mass

We started our trip by stopping to see the Oklahoma City bomb sight memorial on Palm Sunday. It was a neat time to go because we were able to attend mass at the Catholic Church across the street where we were able to parade in from the weeping statue of Jesus. Very moving. We did take the time to go through the museum at the site too- which was super beneficial especially to my older children who needed educated on what happened and how the memorial was developed. They obviously were born after the bombing, so needed an education and the museum helped tell the story.

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial at Alfred P. Murrah building

 

Tyler taking in the view in downtown Dallas at our hotel- it had a basketball court!

We then travelled to Dallas where we were able to tour the JFK memorial plaza, Old Red Museum and stay downtown. We took the time to go to the 6th floor museum which I enjoyed a great deal. There was a long line but it was worth it and every person that goes through gets an audio tour which helps too. My daughter even had one so she enjoyed going at her own pace and I enjoyed the fact that I could actually listen without some one asking me at each stop what they were looking at.

Old Red Museum, Dallas Texas

 

Grassy Knoll area at JFK plaza Dallas, TX.

After Dallas we stopped at College Station to see my brother in law where he works at the airport. We were able to tour the control tower, see his plane (the flight we were going to take was cancelled due to extreme wind and fear of severe turbulance which would have scared the kids). We also got a private tour of Texas A &M Kyle Field (everyones favorite stop of the trip!!!) and took in a baseball game. So.much.fun.

With the good comes the bad though, and my 8 year old woke with a head to toe rash while we were there that subsequently turned into an urgent care visit. Turns out she is allergic to the penicillin based antibiotic she was on for strep throat. One steroid injection and oral steroids later she was discharged and able to go to NASA. No more penicillin for her!

Airplane Uncle Tom flies in College Station, TX

Touring Texas A&M Kyle Field in College Station, TX

The tunnel leading to the field the players run through … “It’s about us”

The Family

Taking in a baseball game at Texas A&M

After 2 days in College Station we headed further south to Houston. I have ALWAYS wanted to tour NASA and have always been fascinated with that era. Last summer I never missed an episode of the “Astronaut Wives Club” and read the book cover to cover in a week. It was neat to see the progression of the Saturn to Apollo Astronauts, the era of the Challenger and the last of the space shuttle program. I REALLY enjoyed NASA and was so glad we stopped and spent a day there.

Shuttle transported on back of a plane.

 

Saturn V rocket at NASA

Next stop was San Antonio and the riverwalk and Alamo. Bucket list item for me (not really for the kids) but I enjoyed the stop and was glad we went. It was fun to actually see the Riverwalk and the Alamo was a convenient stop while we were there.

The Alamo

 

San Antonio Riverwalk


On our way back to Iowa we made a stop in Oklahoma City to see family and I had to take a picture of the red dirt. Compared to the black dirt of Iowa, this was strange to see. Some times I look at dirt lie this and wonder how anything grows in it?

 

Red Dirt of Oklahoma

Riverwalk boat ride, one of the few pics I made it into. I love family trips…..

 

 

Houston roads, I am not in Iowa anymore

All in all I think our Texas roadtrip was a complete success. Thank you Texas and Oklahoma for all your hospitality. If you live in either of these states you live in beautiful country. I enjoyed the scenery, I enjoyed the company and I enjoyed the sights. I feel so fortunate to have been so many places in my lifetime. Have travelled the country and roadtripped all over this beautiful nation we live in.

Sorry my summary is so short- but it is so hard to summarize a weeks worth of wonderful memories into such a short post. I can say this- never am I happier than when I travel with my family. We truly leave the world at home behind, and enjoy every moment.

Until next time!

~Laura

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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s tatoo time!! On turning 40…


  

I turned 40! I got a tattoo! I crossed an item off my bucket list that I always wanted to do and made my 40th birthday one I will ALWAYS remember. I have no regrets and I love what I chose.

My tattoo was one I have wanted since my 20’s. I am so happy I waited to get it done though, because by the time I finally did get it, I really knew what I wanted and I really knew where I was going with it. The cross symbolizes my faith, the heartbeat (or in the medical world the QRS complex) represents the career I chose and the people I have helped along the way. I remember the patients I have sat with when they had their last heartbeat and the ones I have brought back and restarted their heartbeat. I am so proud of what I do. Last, but certainly not least, the three hearts represent my 3 children. These are my reason to live fully and love fully. I am so proud of the individuals they have become.

I have been asked- is turning 40 a tough one? And you know what? It isn’t! I think because I was in a much worse position in my life at 30 than I am now. Without going into detail. I was not where I wanted to be, lost in where I was headed and not comfortable with where I was. It makes 40 seem so awesome. I am happy. I am blessed. I have a wonderful husband, kids, support system, family, faith, job, and friends. I could go on and on and on. I am one word… CONTENT. Why would 40 be difficult? What do I have to complain about?

I think I have learned as I go into the next phase of my life to quit looking at the past, worrying about the future. I focus on the NOW. I have so much to be thankful for. I am without a doubt, in one of the most stress free periods of my life. I am settled… and that is so GOOD.

 I have a bucket list I chip away at. I add to it and change it as I go. I have things I can look back at in my 30’s and say I did. I parasailed, zip lined, got a tattoo, travelled overseas, had children, got married, established myself in my career. Yes, there are things I still want to do, and yes I will get there. But for now I am happy with how my 30’s were spent. No regrets!

 So here is to turning 40!! May it be the best decade of my life. Cheers! 🍷

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