Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Color Run 2014

When The Color Run came to my area last year I totally missed out on an amazing race. I saw so many pictures and posts about the great time everyone had and knew I had to be a part of it when it came around again.  Well ladies and gents....the time has come!  The Color Run is coming to a town near you! Lucky for me, The Color Run is coming to my own backyard, Clearwater FL on January 26th!!!

This year they kick off the 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour by making The Color Run bigger and better.  After visiting over 50 cities last year and having more than 600,000 Color Runners, they've decided to go big or go home! They plan to have over 170 events with over a million Color Runners!

Travis Snyder, founder of The Color Run, stated "We call The Color Run the 'happiest 5K on the planet' because our events bring together friends and family in a unique, healthy, and fun environment. Our only rules are that people wear white and prepare to be covered in color at the finish!"  Who wouldn't want to take part in that?!?

I'm excited to share that they've made it a little more exciting to sign up!  Not only is there awesome new participant gear and crazy race attractions, you can also save $5 when you use the code COLOR5OFF when you register!!!  Registration is simple.  All you have to do is go to The Color Run website, find your city of choice (come run Clearwater with me!!!) and sign up!

Disclaimer: I was provided entries into The Color Run race at a location of my choice in exchange for this post.  All opinions are 100% my own! I can't wait to look like that girl above!!!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Normally in November I take to Facebook and update my status every day with something I'm thankful for. But I have no idea how to go back and read all of them from the past few years without taking forever. This year, I'm going to do it here, on the blog.  That way I will have those declarations in one place, no matter how many years go by.

I have been so blessed in my 31 years.  I have the best parents a girl could ask for. Amazing brothers. Fantastic friends.  I fell in love with my best friend and we have 2 beautiful children who remind me daily of God's love for us.  Those are the guaranteed things I'm thankful for.  But there are so many other things I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful to have found a profession that brings me so much joy and fulfillment. So many people are unhappy in their jobs.  I can honestly say that I love mine.  I was truly called to be a nurse. But the beautiful part of this amazing profession is the ability to recognize when you're getting burned out and have many different avenues to travel while still being in the nursing profession.  I had found myself emotionally drained the past few months and I now have an exciting new opportunity in Clinical Research.  I'm so thankful for this change.

I'm thankful for Photobucket

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The coolest baked good I've ever made

So back to my recaps on Emmy's Tangled birthday party.  We've already talked about the decorations so now we're on the good stuff...the cake.

I love to bake.  I'd rather bake than cook.  For some reason, baking makes me feel creative and artistic. I don't get that feeling from cooking. Last year was all about being creative for my children's birthdays.  Noah got Lego cookies for school and a Lego cake for home.  When I started planning (or pinning) Emmy's party, I knew exactly what I was going to make.  I found this pin and knew this was perfect for my baby girl's party.
How perfect are these Rapunzel towers?!?!?!  A great twist on the classic cupcake.  I headed to Michaels and got my supplies.  They were quite easy to make too.  I used a boxed cake mix (I'm not above that) and prepared it per the directions. I put ice cream cones in a muffin tin to help stabilize them and filled them 1/2 way to 2/3's of the way up.  I baked them according to the box and they baked perfectly inside the cone.  I baked them all the night before because I knew I had 40 of them to decorate the next day.  If I could do it over, I would make sure the only task I had on the day of the party was the cupcakes because the cones got a little stale.  I'm not sure if being in the oven caused the staleness or because they were made the day before.  Either way, they were a huge hit.

My brother's girlfriend was a lifesaver and came over early to help me finish them.  I can't thank her enough because I'd still be decorating them months later if it wasn't for her.  I just love that girl so much!!!

Here's our Rapunzel Towers.  I think they turned out perfectly!
Our creations
That's a lot of cupcakes
My birthday girl
Make a Wish
And I have to share this picture because it captures Em's pure joy at her party.  She had the best time with her friends from school, her cousins, and our family. We're so blessed to have so many people who love our children.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Embarking on another First Day

Today I am embarking on a new journey.  Friday was my last day in the Outpatient Clinic and today I start my new role as a Clinical Research Coordinator. Sounds fancy, doesn't it?  I'm super excited yet totally freaked out at the same time.  Bedside nursing is all I know.  That's all I've done for the almost 8 years I've been a nurse.  It's where I'm most comfortable. It's where I feel the most like myself. I'm at home at the bedside.

When I transitioned from Inpatient to Outpatient, we had just gone through a horrible period where we lost a few patients. It was very taxing on the staff (to say the least).  You come in every day and see the patients at their worst.  It wears on the soul tremendously. The opportunity to move to clinic allowed me some time to heal. I was now surrounded by the patients who are doing well.  They come to clinic every week, every two weeks, every month and they're healthy.  They're thriving. They're going to school and getting to be kids. It was what I needed to heal.

Recently I've realized that I might have healed too much.  I've gotten used to seeing the same patients day in and day out.  I've built friendships and bonds with them.  I'm by no means saying that is a bad thing. I love that I can go in to work and be able to be completely real with the people I'm caring for. But that too comes at a price.

I have found myself becoming too attached, too comfortable.  So with every relapse, it's hitting me even harder than before. It hurts that much more because I've seen them at their best. I've put so much of myself into taking care of them, trying to protect them from their disease. I've found myself saying "why didn't I see it coming?" or "why didn't I pick up on the slight change in their labs?" or "what could I have done differently?"  Each relapse has become a personal defeat for me.

Which is why I am welcoming this new position with open arms. I'm excited to take on a new role in the Hem/Onc/BMT world. It will be challenging, which I love. It will test not only my patience but my brain. It will challenge my ADD/OCD like nothing I've ever done.  I'm prepared to not be good at my new job at first, which will be hard because I'm a perfectionist.  I know I will miss being at the bedside.  I'm sure most days it will kill me. It was so hard to tell my patients I wasn't going to be in clinic anymore. But I know that feeling will pass.  And if it doesn't, I'll figure it out. But this is what my heart needs. It's what my family needs. And that's all that matters.

To my clinic family.......thank you so much for an amazing 2.5 years! I am so honored to work beside each and every one of you. You have each taught me so much and have helped me grow. You've put up with my health issues, my personal drama, my attitude, and my ridiculous sense of humor and I love you all for that. Never once did I feel like the "new girl." I instantly felt like part of the family.  You don't find a work environment like that too often and I'm thankful I found you.  I know things are rough right now but I'm positive it will get better. I will miss you all the time but I'm glad I can still cross that parking lot and come say hi when I need to!

Just some of my Clinic Family (including some of my new Research Family)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!!!

It's not a big secret that I'm not a fan of Halloween but the Hubs loves it and so does the kids.  But there's nothing cuter than little kids in costumes.  So in honor of the Hubs's favorite holiday, here's a quick look at my Halloween cuties through the year.

Noah's first Halloween....probably not the most flattering costume for a fat baby (2007)
My lil Dinosaur (2008)
Thomas (2009)
My lil Pumpkin...Emmy's first Halloween (2009)
Pretty Tinkerbell (2010)
Brave Fireman (2010)
Jessie and Optimus Prime (2011)
Spiderman (2012)
Merida (2012)
Happy Halloween!!!!  Stay Safe!!!!!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tangled Party: AKA Momma Gets Crafty

Let's jump in the time machine and head back to the summer.  Emmy turned 4 in August and, of course, wanted a Princess Party.  Every party she's ever had has been a princess one.  She was a 1st Birthday Princess.  Then there was Little Mermaid and Brave.  So which princess would be the lucky one for her 4th?  Rapunzel of course!!!  So I did what any good mom would do....create a party board on Pinterest!!!!

I had originally bought the standard party store decorations but with a week to go before the party, I shifted gears and went completely homemade for everything.  I made the Hubs take most of the decorations back and used the money for my craft supplies.  I found a few pins for bunting and other decorations.  I cut out the sun logo that's seen throughout Rapunzel's kingdom and got to work.  I painted it on the bunting.  I made paper lanterns.  I braided 25 feet of yarn to make a Rapunzel braid to decorate our entry way with.  Each girl got a Rapunzel braid on a ponytail holder to wear for the party.  I even made the Magic Golden Flower that gives Rapunzel's hair its magic powers.  I might have gone a little overboard for a 4 year old's party but I had so much fun doing it.  I have set a high standard for myself for future parties though.

Without further adieu....Emmy's decorations!!!!

Making my templates for the bunting and paper lanterns
Paper lanterns in full effect
Tea staining my Wanted Posters
25 foot Rapunzel Braid
Rapunzel braids for all the girls
It turned out really nice
I love the way the lanterns looked!!!

I'm so happy with how it turned out.  I don't know if I'd change a thing.  It wasn't overtly Tangled but if you saw the movie, you appreciated the touches I did.  I'm so thrilled with the cupcakes I made that they're getting their own post!!!  Probably the most exciting thing that I've done so far in my baking career!!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Angry Bird Telepods Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a free product in exchange for this review

My son has many obsessions. He's an almost 7 year old boy.  They love a lot of things.  One thing he's been in to for a while now is Angry Birds.  The Hubs got him hooked on the original version of the game on our phones and every version there after. Now that he has his own iPad mini, he has every version of the game on it as well.  Star Wars Angry Birds is his absolute favorite!  He started collecting the figures and has quite the collection.  He was more than excited when a package showed up at our doorstep from Hasbro Games.  We ripped opened the box to find the Angry Bird Star Wars Telepod Death Star Trench Run and an Angry Bird Star Wars Telepods figure pack. We quickly opened each item and got to playing!

Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods Death Star Trench Run
Pure joy thanks to Hasbro Games!!!!
Noah has been dying to get an Angry Bird play set.  This set comes with 2 figures (1 exclusive to the game), a Telepod base, 1 X-Wing Starfighter launcher, 8 blocks and 1 ramp.  We chased the launcher around the house for a while.  Pull back and off it flies! Noah and Emmy both loved taking turns setting up their structures and sending their launcher to knock it down.  It was fun to watch them playing together, taking turns, and getting creative in how they were stacking their blocks. I know for a fact more of these play sets will be towards the top of Noah's Christmas list this year!

Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods Figure Pack
Our new additions....and the Telepod base!!!!
Noah was also able to add 2 new figures to his Angry Birds collection. But this wasn't your ordinary Angry Bird figure pack.  This figure pack contained the key to unlocking hours of excitement.  With the release of Angry Birds Star Wars II, you can teleport your figures into the game!  Yep, you heard right!  You can now see your figures in action on your smart device.  All you need is your smart device, a Telepod figure, and the Telepod base.  Simply place the Telepod base over your device's camera, attach your figure, and BOOM.  Your figure is now in your game! And to make it more exciting, you can now play on the "Pork Side" and fling the evil pigs.  Noah was counting down the days until the new app arrived.  Now he's teleporting his birds and pigs into his games.  (I've even secretly teleported some of the figures into the app on my phone!  It's really cool technology!!!).  To learn more about the app, check out starwars.hasbro.com.

You can find these awesome toy sets at local retailers.  The Angry Bird Star Wars Telepod Vehicle Packs retail for $19.99 each and the Figure Packs retail for $5.99 each.  But lucky for you, Hasbro has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader a Vehicle Pack and Figure Pack of their very own!  Just enter below.  Don't miss out on this one!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received free products from Hasbro Games in exchange for this review. No other compensation was received.  All opinions are 100% mine (and Noah's).


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Life Gets In The Way

Hi friends. 

It's been a long time.  

I didn't mean to take such a break from you but I needed to. I needed a break to get my head straight. My life was spiraling out of control but not in the "I'm in so over my head that I have no idea how to get out" way. Out of control as in I felt the weight of everything looming over my head. That in a matter of seconds, the other shoe was going to drop and everything would fall apart at the seams. Every aspect of my life was being affected. Work was taking a HUGE toll on me and my mental well being. I felt pulled in a million different directions between home, the kids school, work, and my commitments and I couldn't do it anymore. 

So I took a step back. This was a big deal for me. I live in a constant state of stress. I always have a million things being juggled at any one time. But I'm proud of myself for coming to this realization. I don't think I've ever truly said this is too much for me to handle before. I took a leave from my TBMB commitment (thanks again to my amazing contributors who understood). I put blogging on the back burner (although I miss documenting all the awesome things that we've experienced lately).  I've relaxed a little more than I usually do. I've made some career decisions that I'm excited to share with everyone. I'm making decisions that bring joy, not stress, to my life. 

It means a lot to have a new focus. A new outlook. 

Ignore the Hubs......he doesn't like my constant picture taking! But I love this pic because I feel like I look happy and relaxed. Exactly what this break was for.....


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tiny Ballerina

I'm sure I talked a lot about Emmy's dancing.  This past year was her first year in dance. She is quite talented and picked it up right away. We went through a very rough patch in December, making us take an entire month off of dance. But then she was back.  Surgery kinda derailed our progress because she missed a few weeks right before recital time. I was really nervous that she wouldn't actually dance in the recital.  But I kept my fingers crossed and headed into rehearsal week.

If I have anything negative to say about the whole recital experience it's rehearsal week.  I totally understand that this is a production and it has to be perfect.  But having 2 and 3 year olds at the studio every night from 5-8pm is just wrong.  It's hard for little ones to sit still but to ask them to be at the studio every night and be still was a bit much. Em did pretty good for most of the days. She ended up sitting with me a lot, which was totally ok in my book.  It was a rough week for both of us.
Dress Rehearsal
I went in to recital night a bit on edge.  I wasn't confident Em would dance.  She let me do her makeup and get her in her costume but once we got to the auditorium, she was back to her old panicked self.  She wouldn't go back stage.  She didn't want me to leave her. She was on the verge of tears the whole time.  I finally talked to the studio director to come up with a game plan.  She told me I could watch from the wings and then take her back to our seats once her dance was over.  That was the best solution she could offer me.  I took it in the hopes that Em would actually dance.  It wasn't until about 30 seconds before their dance that she actually got out of my arms and headed on to the stage.
On our way to the auditorium
There's something about little girls in big tutus that can put a smile on anyone's face.  The performance was great.  It got a little off track in the middle but the girls were so cute that it didn't matter.  Em danced and that's all I could ask for.  I was so proud of her!

To Miss Kelley....Thank you so much for believing in Emily.  She had her ups and downs and you stood behind her.  You never gave up on her which means the world to me. She loves to dance and you're a huge part of that.  Making Em a DC girl was one of the best choices we've made for her. Being a part of the Dance Central family has become a huge part of who we are. Thank you for always welcoming us with open arms. And thank you for making this such an amazing experience for Emily (and me).  We love you!!!!
Em loves her Miss Kelley!!!!
My tiny dancer on her first day of dance and at her recital

 Don't forget to enter my Keurig Brew Over Ice giveaway!!!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Brew Over Ice Giveaway!!!!

I love coffee.  That might be an understatement.  It's a must in my daily routine.  The Hubs has indulged this obsession for a while. Starbucks got a ton of my money (which is really sad). That all changed when my parents gave me a Keurig for Christmas this year.  Let's just say it was life changing!  I love being able to switch up my coffee every cup if I want. I love being able to brew just one cup instead of an entire pot.  I love changing the size of each cup (aka I can brew super strong coffee on those mornings that I need the extra push to get moving). So when I learned that Keurig was giving bloggers the chance to review some products, I jumped all over it!
Brew Over Ice
I signed up for the Keurig Brew Over Ice program and look what showed up at my doorstep!!!!
I was stoked when I opened the box to find a light up ice bucket (my kids LOVE it), a insulated tumbler with straws, a set of coasters and 3 samples of Keurig's Brew Over Ice Kcups.  I instantly turned on my Keurig and got to sampling.  I started with the Snapple Peach Tea.  I filled the tumbler up with ice and put it where my coffee mug usually goes. The Kcup went in and a glass of peach tea was made right over the ice.  YUM!!! It was that easy to make a fresh brewed, iced beverage. I've tried the Iced Mocha which was a nice change from my normal coffee.  I haven't tried the Vitamin Burst yet but I'm looking forward to it.

Right now, you can enter the "Brew Over Ice Sweepstakes" and win a $10,000 prize.  You can also download a coupon for $2 off your next box of Brew Over Ice Kcups. But if that's not enough, I've got a great giveaway!  One lucky reader will win their very own Brew Over Ice prize pack!  You'll receive the same package I received!  All you have to do is enter below!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided these products in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hi. My Name is Jess and I'm a Bad Blogger

It's true. I'm a horrible blogger. I can't believe I haven't posted in over a month! I have so many things to catch up on.  I wish I could say that my month was filled with tons of amazing adventures but it wasn't.  We took a trip for a wedding and then it was time to focus on back to school.  Now that school is in its second week, I think I can start catching up with documenting my life.

Here's just some things we have to talk about:

~Em's dance recital (from way back in June.....slacker!!!!)
~Our Pensacola trip
~My new niece
~The time I pinterested a party (Em's birthday party)
~Em's birthday post
~First day of school
~Work stuff
~I turned 31
~Flavor Run
~Things I've realized this summer

Here's a few pics from our summer (courtesy of the good ol IG):
Making Top Gun look good at the National Aviation Museum in Pensacola

That time I actually looked pretty good
Meeting our niece on the day she was born
Pinterested a Tangled party
Noah's first 5K....The Flavor Run
First day of school.....Em was excited I promise.  She just didn't want her picture taken