Monday, January 28, 2013

Mondays don't have to be bad.

Monday marks the beginning of the work week, the school week, the get-left-at-home-while-your-husband-makes-money week. As Sunday night draws to a close the sunrise on Monday morning can seem so gloomy. Though I'm beginning to think that the build up of complaints, dismay and dread turn Monday into something far worse than it really is.

Today I cared for my baby, made cookies with a sister, skyped with my husband, ate a lovely dinner with my parents, went to family night with four of my siblings and their adorable kids, watched Jeopardy and read a book. Whoa! What a wonderful day. Now that I've graduated and taken the NCLEX it is slowly dawning on me that every day is mine to fill. I can choose how I'm going to cultivate myself, spend my time and enjoy life. The key is not wasting the precious time we have here on Earth.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Elizabeth Hannibal, RN

The Short Version:

I took the NCLEX on Jan 23rd and am now a licensed registered nurse!!

 The Long Version:

SIGNING UP: I graduated over a month ago but I still didn't feel like I was done with school because of the oh-so-scary NCLEX looming over my head. Toward the beginning of the month I got my ATT [You need your ATT to sign up for a test date]. I had a decision to make: take it before I go home to Ohio so I can relax on my vacation OR take it after I get back so I can have more time to study. Initially, I was going to wait and take in in February. Then, at the last minute I changed my mind and picked Jan 23. This gave me two weeks to study for the biggest test of my life.

STUDYING: My original study plan was 50 practice questions a day. HA. I had only been doing 25 every other day or so. When I signed up for the 23rd I had a mini freak out. I kicked my studying into high gear and began doing over 100 questions each day. I'm grateful I had the drive to ramp up my studying... but can you say burnt out?! The days just before my test I took it easy and reviewed study materials instead of doing practice questions.

MORNING OF: The morning of my test was lovely. Paul gave me a blessing the night before and I woke up feeling calm and confident. I kept repeating to myself "Today I pass the NCLEX". My test was scheduled for 2pm, leaving me with an entire morning to fret. Paul was a sweetheart and he stayed home from work to keep me feeling calm and happy. He suggested we go out for breakfast. We don't go out for breakfast very frequently because I can make just about any breakfast food for a fraction of the price. I wanted to get out of the house though, so I quickly agreed.

We packed up and went to Joe's Cafe. This is a special place for us. The morning after Paul proposed, we went out to breakfast at Joe's and there announced our engagement to his family. It just so happens that the 23rd was one day shy of being exactly 2 years since we first went to Joe's hole-in-the-wall Cafe. We splurged and got hot chocolate, apple cider and left a fatty tip [I was convinced that leaving a killer tip would give me some good luck karma to pass the test].

The rest of the morning was relaxed. I memorized some final tid bits of info, packed a lunch and hopped in the car. The drive up to Draper was fantastic. I had ample amounts of time so I turned up the music and made my way north. Upon arrival I felt little pangs of nervousness shooting down my spine and exploding in my stomach. I tried to drown them out by turning up the music and singing my very loudest. I regained my composure and entered the building.

THE TEST: The check-in process was a bit over the top: Two forms of I.D., an index finger print, a right and left hand palm scan, on-site photo... all to make sure that you're really you and that you don't sneakily go to the bathroom and send a smarter person to take the test for you.

I was escorted into the testing room and placed in cubicle #7. I said a prayer and got started. Depending on the tester's performance, the test is between 75 and 265 questions. As soon as you are either consistently above or below the passing level the test will shut off. I won't deny it, I have been praying for months that I could finish the test in 75 questions. The NCLEX is adapted for each test taker. If you get a question correct, the next question is harder. If you get a question wrong, the next question is easier. The point of the test is to see how difficult questions need to be for you to only have a 50/50 chance of answering correctly. Essentially, it should feel like you're failing the test. 

...Only I didn't feel like I was failing. The questions didn't seem all that difficult. Most would think this would make me feel reassured that I was rocking the test. However, it was quite the contrary-- I was freaking out! I expected questions to be so difficult that I had to guess. Since it wasn't that hard I was certain that I was failing [DISCLAIMER: I spoke with other people who took the test and I'm pretty sure I got an easy version or something because their questions sounded much more difficult] As I neared 75 questions I forced myself to breathe and keep a level head. I told myself that the test was NOT going to shut off at 75. I submitted my 75th answer... and the test shut off!

THE AFTERMATH: I expected to feel relief that the test was over. Instead, I was more nervous after finishing the test than before or during the test. I NEEDED to know my results. There are a few methods to determine whether or not you passed.

1. After 48 hours you can pay 8 bucks to get your results
2. Wait until you are notified by mail- roughly 4 weeks
3. Try to sign up to take the NCLEX again, if it won't let you reschedule then you passed-- this can be done by the time you drive home
4. After 48 hours you can search to see if you're active on the DOPL website
5. Look up the answer to your last question. If you got it right you most likely passed

If you know me, you know I am cheap and lacking in the patience department. I could neither wait 48 hours nor fork over eight precious dollars. Thus, I immediately called Paul and had him research answers to my final question. We determined that I got the question correct. This still wasn't good enough for me. Paul tried to go through the process to reschedule a second NCLEX test for me-- it wouldn't let him! Okay... I should totally be celebrating by this point by I STILL wasn't convinced. I called my good friend Joslyn who had taken the test the week before to see what happened when she tried to sign up for a second time. We got the same message that wouldn't let us take it!

Finally, I sighed a breath of relief. I "unofficially" passed the NCLEX!!! Naturally, I had to celebrate. Nothing like Cocoa Bean cupcakes, right? Oh, and we didn't want to leave Vince out so we just had to get three of them ;)

Today marks 48 hours post test so I found myself on DOPL [See picture at top of entry]. Active. I passed. So grateful, relived and happy. No more classes, tests, clinicals, homework. Could this really be happening? Yes, my friends. I am now a full-time homemaker.

Monday, January 21, 2013

"Life needs frosting"

Sometimes you need to indulge.

This weekend it was:
colored jeans
bright, chunky, knit sweaters
a thai lunch special
and cinnabon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Helmet Head.

The next time you see Vince you won't be able to admire his lovely tresses. He is officially a helmet-wearing baby. Paul and I noticed that Vincent's head was really flat in the back. We assumed that it would have gone away by now because he is constantly scooching around on his squishy belly or sitting up.

At our usual pediatrician well visit I gave a my doc a list of questions. We discussed most of them; it wasn't until I had lugged Vincent's unbelievable heavy car seat out into the freezing cold that it dawned on me that his head was never addressed. I clamored in the car to get my crying baby home and soon forgot to follow up about his head.

A few days later I was playing with him and couldn't stop looking at his head. I kept asking myself if I was obsessing and trying to find problems because I'm nurse. I called Paul in and had him conduct his own examination. After pictures, fretting, phone calls, family opinions, helmet consults, etc. We decided that we should move forward and fix the problem now.

I'll be honest, his head isn't THAT weird looking because he has hair. When his hair is wet it becomes much more obvious that his head isn't normally shaped. I kept going back and forth about whether or not we should submit Vince to 10 weeks of life in a hot helmet. In the end, there were two factors that made me commit.

1. Vince is going to be bald some day. If you look at a boy's maternal grandfather (my dad) you can get an idea of whether or not they'll have male-pattern baldness. I love my dad, but he doesn't have hair. So while Vince's head looks normal with his hair... he's not always going to have it to hide the shape of his head.

2. It's now or never. We tried repositioning and stretching techniques to help round out his head but to no avail. As a child nears the end of his first year, his head starts growing at a slower rate and thickens-- making it harder to change the shape. Most places won't even consider doing a helmet for a child over 12 months. In a few months, or even years, I would hate to look back and regret not fixing the problem when it was easy. The only other option for an older child is surgery! No thanks.

So there you have it. Here is our adorable Helmet Head:

We'll be getting decals to decorate his noggin' in the near future. Any suggestions?

Monday, January 14, 2013


Studying for the NCLEX is much more enjoyable with this view.
[T minus eight days til I take this bad boy]

Can't help but love my sweet husband.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

One hour project? Yeah right!

My Sister-in-law, Becca, made some super cute baby booties for her son. I got ambitious and decided that I [who doesn't really know how to crochet] would take a stab at it. I peeled of the plastic wrap from the crochet hook set Paul bought me for Christmas. I always find it scary to completely open a new purchase because you can no longer return it. Ah! A little nervous, I picked out some soft, grey yarn and sat down on my couch, eager to learn.

The tutorial video that Becca used is just over an hour. HA. I have been working on this project for at least 3 hours. Am I close to being done? No. I start, mess up, undo 10 stiches, try again, make the same mistake, start over... do you get the picture? Oh heavens, what have I gotten myself in to?? I am determined to finish. Not only will these be adorable on Vince, but I want to make these for all of my pregnant friends! Stay tuned to see whether or not these bad boys turn out!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


[pey-shuh ns] noun

1.the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like. ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
3.quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.

I wish I could say this post were all about me and my unending patience. But it's not. Rather, it's about my husband and HIS patience with yours truly.

Two days ago I lay in bed, the cell phone ringing out some peppy alarm music. I don't normally wake up at seven on my own accord. However, I asked Paul to help me lose weight. In an effort to get fit we signed ourselves up to do Jillian Michael's 30 day shred every day at 7 am. The first few days were great; I had lots of energy, was excited at the prospect of getting fit and felt extremely motivated.

Fast forward 20 days later to the morning I described above. The moment I heard the alarm my arm flew out from under the covers to hit snooze-- a skill I developed in my teenage years. Three seconds later my eyes were closed and I was dozing back to sleep. Paul, on the other hand, rolls out of bed and begins to pick up all of the nick nacks and toys on the floor. He turns on the tv, fills up my water cup, gets me five pretzels [because I can't work out on an empty stomach] and then comes to coax me out of bed.

Meanwhile, an internal dilemma is being battled in bed. When Paul gets moving I think to myself, "I should just get up and get this over with" but then the other part of me says, "It's terribly cold out there, and you're tired and it's so cozy in bed. You shouldn't have to get up if Vince isn't awake!" Obviously the second argument is more convincing. Thus, I lay in bed and torment myself as the same dilemma replays over and over. "I really want to lose weight... but when I don't get enough sleep I feel grumpy all day."

Two days ago was an especially rough morning. Oddly, I felt angry. I got upset with Paul because I felt like he was pushing me even though I had already said "no" over a thousand times. Then, he crawled back in bed and cuddled me. With him arms wrapped around my shoulders, it dawned on me that instead of getting mad at me [because he's only working out for my sake] for not getting out of bed, he showed an outpouring of love. Had the roles been reversed I would have told him to get his butt out of bed. I shared this with him and he sweetly said, "I'm not allowed to talk to you like that, Libby." More than a half hour late, I got out of bed and we exercised.

As the day wore on I kept finding myself thinking about Paul's patience. I couldn't, and still can't, wrap my head around how he stays so calm and loving when I'm being lazy, annoying and slow. I have a long journey ahead of me if I'm ever to become like him. But it starts with baby steps, right? Perhaps I can't jump straight to the point of bearing annoyances with an outpouring of love... but I CAN bear annoyances without rudeness, name calling or, better yet, in silence. Because is there really a need to say something about everything that bothers you? I think as I slowly take away my negative reactions I can fill in the gaps with kindness, like Paul. 

Car Repairs.

It's amazing how quickly a $30 safety and emissions test can turn into $300. And then a few hours later jump up to $500 because the mechanic broke some bolts in the process. Is it fair to pay for the mistake of the mechanic? I think not...

I'm not very happy right now. Though I am grateful that we've been saving money for an occasion such as this. It's just the fact that I would rather not dish up our savings on car repairs :(

[It's been a few hours since I posted this... and we're being charged an additional $100. What a day!]

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Eight months.

It's not very often that I blog right on Vince's month birthdays. It would probably remain that way except for the fact that his eight months landed on a Sunday. So here we are. My little Vince is growing up faster than I could imagine.

He continues to love food more and more each day. Instead of buying all of our baby food we have started making it ourselves. He used to make such nasty faces because he hated the texture.

 In one short month he has made leaps and bounds. Now he mashes up the little bits in his mouth and he can down more cheerios than you can imagine!

 He's a smart young chap. During the Christmas season he kept trying to help us put the puzzles together. He also loves staying on his eating and sleeping schedule. Sometimes I go to nurse him and he's already waiting for me! What a punctual fellow.

He goes wild in the bathtub! Kicking, splashing, squealing and laughing. It's probably one of my favorite times. Although he's growing up and using his hands to explore more things, he still loves shoving stuff in his mouth.

 Slowly but surely he's becoming more mobile. He's been a champ at sitting for many moons now. However, he just doesn't seem interested in moving! At 7.5 months we had a breakthrough when he started doing consecutive rolls to get across the floor. Now that we've hit 8 months he has mastered the art of numerous barrel rolls. We've quickly had to adjust by baby proofing and hiding all of the cords that he so loves to eat. In the past couple days he's ventured up onto his knees. It's so weird to see him in a crawling position. He'll rock back and forth a few times before he plops back down onto his chubby tummy. I could just eat him up!

While he's generally a happy boy, he has his moments. We've made a transition from three naps to two. It was rough at first but he's doing much better and continues to sleep 11 hours at night [heaven]. He's still a baby though. He cries and fusses, especially when I'm trying to study for the NCLEX. 

But those big blue eyes get me every time. In the end, after the crying and fussing he looks up at me and I remember why I'm doing this. I love my little monster. I love his sweet voice as he babbles da-da and buh-buh, the way his toes curl up when I tickle his feet and his high pitched squeals of excitement. I hope I never forget that there is nothing more important than raising my children.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas Festivities.

Puzzles are always necessary during the Christmas season.
So are stockings, family, lighted trees and adorable sweater vests.

We also threw in a spur of the moment road trip to visit family and friends in St George

 Christmas day itself was spent cozied up in sweats and blankets, eating caramel sticky buns and sipping hot cocoa. 
[Vince passed on the goodies and ate wrapping paper instead]

 We rang in the new year with our best buds while Vince hung out with his girlfriend.

You just gotta love the holidays!