Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cake in a Jar- reviewed!

Ok, so some of you may have seen my previous post about making cake in a jar for the boy-toy, and wondering how it would all turn out.  Well, I finally got a review from him via email the other day- and it was a success! The cakes stayed moist and didn't go stale, and as predicted they didn't last very long :) His only complaint was that the cake stuck to the jar a little bit, and that he wanted more.  He didn't mention my cute decorations, but I'll just have to ask more questions when he calls me next.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with them, I guess I'll have to get baking again for his next care package, and maybe try making zucchini or banana bread instead of cakes.

Sorry it's been a week long hiatus, classes/clinicals really picked up this week.  I did the math and I spent over 50 hours in the classroom building where the clinic and my classes are this week- yuck!! I still have paperwork to finish, so I'm going to try to get it all finished up this evening and get to bed at an early time, as in before midnight.  This next week I am packed with clinicals yet again, and I really need to get better about being motivated to do my work not on the night before it is due.  If that happens, I'm not going to have the grades I need/want this semester.  Thankfully, I have mondays "off" from classes, but it's just turning into a big work/appointment day.  I have a doctor's appointment for a TB test and blood draw- yay for school/hospital requirements, and a research librarian appointment.  I've been struggling with my 30+ page research paper so far, so I'm hoping that my meeting with the librarian will help me with using the library resources and directing my research topic a little more.

Still waiting for the elusive phone call from LT, he's been super busy lately and they are starting to have guys out on mid-tour so he's apparently filling in some gaps.  I just want to pout and stomp my feet and demand my turn, but I'll just wait patiently.  At least R&R is coming up, that's what is getting me through these first few weeks of classes and adjusting back into school life.  At least work isn't too crazy... yet. I'm just waiting for the next shoe to drop :)

Also- apparently my area is about to get SLAMMED by a major winter storm/cold front.... here is to hoping it is not as bad as predicted.  But just in case, I'm going to make some hearty meals to put in the freezer if I need them.  Thankfully my Christmas present from my Dad was a shovel/ ice scraper, better make sure those are accessible should the need arise.  At least I have an awesome bus system that will take me to within 3 blocks of my classroom building so the walking won't be absolutely terrible.

Well, I'm off to do more studying and cleaning, always how my weekends seem to turn out :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cue the Sap.

Ok, so I have been in a super sappy mood lately- damn hormones. I was passed this via facebook, and I thought it was cute, and I'm procrastinating on reading, so here it goes!

1. What are your middle names?
My middle name is Leah.
His middle name is Michael.

2. How long have you been together?
It will be six years, on March 24th, 2011. So, in about 6 weeks :)

3. How long did you know each other before you started dating?
2 years, we knew of each other and were in clubs/sports together but didn’t get close until my junior year of high school.

4. Who asked who out?
I did the initial asking to Sadie Hawkins, but he did the official asking to prom and being officially a couple :)

5. How old are each of you?
I am 22 (will be 23 March 24th)
He is 23 (will be 24 May 23rd)

6. Did you go to the same school?
High School- yes.  Colleges, no.

7. Are you from the same home town?
7 miles from his parent’s house to mine.

8. Who is the smartest?
We are each intelligent/passionate about different things. 

9. Who majored in what?
I have my B.S. in Communication Disorders, with minors in Disability Studies and Psychology.  I am currently working on my Doctorate in Audiology, (AuD).

He has a B.A. in Criminal Justice and Psychology, minor in Military Science.  He is also working on a Master’s in Terrorism and Counter Terrorism. 

Professional students…. I think so :)

10. Who is the most sensitive?
Me, hands down.  I cry when I’m happy, sad, or angry.  I’m just a crier.

11. Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
South Carolina and Washington…  who knows where our next big adventure will be. 

12. Who has the worst temper?
We both keep our anger to a minimum, but we both like our space when we are upset.

13. How many children do you want?
Oh boy, none actually.  I’ll be content working with kids and not having any of my own.  My best friends are all betting I’ll change my mind at some point, but I’m not holding my breath.

14. Who does the cooking?
I LOVE to cook, but I love to cook together the most :) We enjoy cooking together or taking turns.  Usually I volunteer to cook so I don’t have to do the dishes, naughty I know.

15. Who is more social?
We are both very social people, but I take a little longer to warm up to people.

16. Who is the neat freak?
LT, hands down.  He is mister organized, while I am miss cleaning freak… so it’s a strange balance.

17. Who is the most stubborn?
He is very good at digging in his heels, but as am I.  We’ve become very good at compromising.

18. Who wakes up earlier?
LT, hands down.  I’m perfectly content lying in bed until late in the afternoon, while he prefers to be up and moving by 8 am, even on weekends.

19. Where was your first date?
Our first kinda date was Sadie Hawkins, but officially we went to a hole in the wall pizza place by our hometown after a track meet, complete with track warmups, not very glamorous but it was perfect.

20. Who has the bigger family?
LT hands down.  He has tons of aunts, uncles and cousins, while my family is a tad bit smaller.

21. Do you get flowers often?
Not usually, but when I do, it is extra special. The last time I got flowers was last Valentine's Day weekend, when LT unexpectedly showed up at my door with flowers and champagne in hand after driving 9 hours to surprise me. *cue the awwwww's*

22.How do you spend the holidays?
Usually Christmas Eve is at his family’s house then Christmas with my family.  I can’t wait until he gets back and we can start our own traditions.

23. Who is more jealous?
Neither of us, although I am quick to admit I do have jealous episodes from time to time.

24. How long did it take to get serious?
We’re still on the slow build up.  From when we first went off to college, to now post grad life I am still amazed how crazy we are still about each other.  It took until the 5-year mark to voice to each other our acknowledgement of being “the one”. We are very serious about each other, but not a whole lot can change from a LDR until I am done with school.

25. Who eats more?
LT, whenever he comes to my parent’s house they always make 2x the amount of food they would for the 4 of us. He eats all the time, and yet never puts on any weight.

26. What do you do for a living?
I am a full time student, but hopefully going to be a Pediatric Audiologist.  He is a Cavalry Scout Platoon Leader.

27. Who does the laundry?
We each do our own, we don’t live together *yet*.

28. Who’s better with the computer?
Depends on the computer, I’m an Apple girl, and he is a PC guy.

29. Who drives when you’re together?
He usually knows where we are going when I visit so he drives, and when he visits me I drive.  I have a stick shift, but hopefully he learns to drive it soon so he can drive my fancy new-to-me car one of these days. 

30. What is your song?
“Head Over Heels” by Rascal Flatts. 


I woke up to quite the surprise this morning in my email inbox- photos from the LT! I haven't seen any new photos from him since he left, so it was quite the pleasant surprise.  He looks like he is doing well, rocking the "Q ball" look for sure :) I love how he always shaves his head for training, I guess the tradition continued for deployment.  I just hope it grows out a little bit in the next 6-ish weeks, so he doesn't freeze completely for R&R.

As to the R&R dilemma, I just decided to go with a long weekend in Chicago.  We have never stayed downtown or done more than day trips, so I think it'll be a nice quick get away that won't be super expensive and we can plan it on the fly, no need to worry about missed flights.

I also FINALLY saw my first patient- it was nerve wracking, crazy, and awesome!!! So great to finally practice what I've been learning about for the last 4.5 years.  My patient was very patient with me, and while I made some mistakes due to being flustered, it all worked out just fine.  I'll get to see my patient again in 2 weeks when their fancy new earplugs I ordered for them come in.... yippee! Now I start doing full AA (audiological assessments) on sophomores in the Speech and Hearing Science program.  I'm just hoping they are all normal, and I don't have to be the bearer of bad news.  After the incident with my mother, I really don't want to have to tell some 19 year old that they have hearing loss.  So here is to hoping it all works out :)

Finally- a photo the LT sent, one of the few I can share.  Just him chatting on the radio.  Here is to hoping I get to see your sweet face in the next 6-ish weeks.  Hurry home Soldier!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back to School, Back to School...

Yep, the inevitable is happening, classes are finally starting! After two weeks of clinicals with no patients I'm going to start classes finally! It's been a little boring during the day, but my AuD gals are keeping me on my toes with shenanigans at night. I'm very excited for my Cochlear Implants course and my Pediatric Audiology course, so it is going to be a very exciting semester.  I also have 2 more classes; Hearing Aid Research Seminar and Anatomy and Physiology. A&P is the most commonly repeated class in the program, so it is going to be imperative that I study all the time and have serious study sessions with my classmates to ensure we are all doing well and learning everything we are supposed to. I love anatomy and how the body works, I think it is super fascinating and it still boggles me that so much about the body is still theoretical especially in terms of understanding the brain.  Sorry- nerd alert again.

LT and I are still trying to plan a possible trip for his mid tour leave, and I'm still getting nervous about spending all this money and having to worry if he won't make it on time and I'll be in Las Vegas all by myself. I do have family there, but I really want to spend time with him.  I found an AMAZING condo on the strip for a little over $125 a night with the LT's military discount. (Side note- best vacation website EVER:  That is SO SO SO cheap compared to a hotel on the strip and we can cook a few meals and save some money. It also has a huge bathroom/ living room and also has access to a private pool for just the complex.  Then we can take the monorail to other casinos/shows. Can you say luxury!?!

And yes, you can tell by how he and I are actually starting to talk about planning a trip- I got approval from my clinical professors!! So let the planning begin, provided that his leave falls on spring break :)

I'm seriously nervous about all this- any suggestions? I would love a long 4 to 5 days together of just us, but I know his family also wants some time together as well.  Some of his extended family may be coming in just to see him during his leave as well.  This is all so confusing, I just wish it was easy. Should we go for the quick get away trip or just plan a last minute get away to Chicago? Chicago is only 1.5 hours from the LT's and I hometown, so it could be done last minute pretty easily.  We have done a day in Chicago before, but Vegas would be amazing- and we've got some awesome shows we want to see.  *sigh* I just want to spend some quality time together.... either way I'll be happy.

So if you wouldn't mind sharing your two cents- shoot me a comment or email :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cerumen, Effusion, and General Nerdy Ear Terms

Yep, classes are getting ready to start.  Can you tell I've been reviewing my anatomy and diagnostic criteria? I just hope that I can remember everything when I'm seeing patients.  On that topic, I have been scheduled for 2 four hour sessions these past 2 weeks- and not a single patient showed up.  It' just frustrating that I'm doing all this work, and not getting to practice a whole lot.  I did get some practice with my mother, and the results we not good, I had to refer her to a fully licensed audiologist, for a possible hearing aid demo.  Scary! At least when I'm her age, I'll hopefully recognize the signs and be able to fit myself with a hearing aid.  Oh family history.... you've screwed me yet again.

As per usual, new year's resolutions are in full force.  Mine is simply to do 30 minutes of yoga/mediation daily, work on general toning, and to run my first official road race.  I think that's pretty doable, and will help with my stress levels so I hopefully don't go grey by the end of grad school.  As far as the road race, I'd love to run a 1/2 marathon, but I think I'm going to have to settle for a 10k.  I've done some unofficial 3k's for charity, but merely as a participant/fundraiser and not as a competitor.  I really want to compete this time, and follow through with the training.  Then maybe this fall, I can run a 1/2 marathon... maybe even the Chicago!! One step at a time, just gotta work up to that 10k. On a side note- I did a 30 minute core class, and experienced total muscle failure for the first time... yikes I'm sore!! Won't be doing that more than once a week haha.

Now onto some GREAT news- I finally heard from the LT the other day! It had been almost 3.5 weeks, needless to say, I was about pulling my hair out from worry and stress.  He's doing well, and appears to have better communication at the new area where he is at.  They apparently have been really busy with missions, fighting sand storms, and trying to stay warm.  My parents got him a set of under armor shirts in "OD Green"(his terms, not mine) and apparently he never takes it off.  I feel bad for his guys, I'm sure he is one smelly dude by now ;)

I started on his Valentine's day package, and have it all ready to ship off tomorrow.  His parents and I have been trying to stagger our packages by about a week, so that he doesn't get a ton of packages all at once.  I found a GREAT recipe for "cake in a jar" via google, so I gave it a whirl.  I elected to make smaller jars so that they are more portable and he doesn't need a ton of cake.  I know asking him to share is pointless, he hoards his chocolate (maybe that's why we work so well, two chocoholics).

The cakes overall turned out well, they didn't cook super even, but I think I needed to clean the edges of the jars... oopsie daisy!  Supposedly when you make them they seal and will last up to 6 months!!  I'll ask the LT when he gets them, and we'll see how true that statement is.  I enclosed a can of frosting and some sprinkles so he can decorate away.  To continue with the death by chocolate, I also sent a HUGE bag of puppy chow to be shared.  Also, some cheesy valentine-ish crap from the dollar section.  Should keep him entertained.

To continue with the previous care package, I made a DVD on iMovie (seriously love my MacBook, kinda obsessed actually) that had photos of campus in the snow and also some commentary to go along with photos of me and my usual college shenanigans.  Included on the DVD was the "making of the care package" complete with outtakes, such as me spilling cake batter all down my shirt and tripping over my feet.  Hopefully the LT enjoys seeing me at my finest, and with my usual idiosyncrasies on full display.  I spent a lot of time working on it, so I think that's the upside of not having patients yet.

Anyways, some photos to share:

 Domestic Goddess in the making :)

Baking away, the cupcakes were for me and my classmates. I had to do something with the extra batter so I didn't eat it all.  Gotta get those last pesky pounds off somehow!

My new apron, seriously obsessed!!

Finished product- *tada*

Saturday, January 8, 2011

First Week- Survived!!

Well I did it, I survived the first week of clincals!! *cue the happy dance*  Granted it was not a big deal, I had a patient decide not to show up, and then a day with no appointments.  So, I spent both days sitting in the clinic watching shows I missed over the holidays on Hulu and practicing my assessment and clinical diagnostics of various auditory disorders.  (Nerd alert- I know!)

I've been in a bit of a funk lately.  I'll admit, the weather is partly to blame.  I can justify cold weather as long as there is snow on the ground, but dead grass everywhere AND a wicked wind blowing through campus... too much! At least it started snowing tonight, which is awesome because I am a total snow bunny.  The other big part of my "funk" is from the lack of communication lately from the LT.  I'm still waiting on my Christmas phone call, and here is to hoping it comes soon.  Voicemails are just NOT cutting it anymore when I miss the sound of his voice.  I'll also be the first to admit- I do get jealous of some people I know with loved ones who are deployed and they talk to their service member almost everyday.  I'm dreaming of having that frequency of communication.  *fingers crossed* it picks up soon.

Sometimes I am so taken aback by the stupidity of people.  I've been asked at least 5+ times by classmates and friends if I got to see the LT over Christmas.  I had to bite my tongue not to reply with a snarky, "oh you didn't know- they just stop the war for 2 weeks and ALL the guys get to come home".  I just try to tell myself it's not ignorance because they don't care- it's because they simply have never had a family member, friend, or loved one that has served an overseas deployment.  I'm trying my best to educate them, but it just gets frustrating.

My professors are also being very vague about if I'll have my clinic schedule covered over my spring break if the LT's R&R happens to fall during that time.  My classmates have said they'll cover for me, but I just want to get the approval from the clinic supervisors.  Better to ask permission than forgiveness, right!?  It's not like he can just take a different weekend, (although I had one ask if he could).  Then another professor accused me of "playing the military card" too often!  Yes, I talk about him all the time, but I have NEVER asked for special treatment or extensions on assignments or any other thing of the sort.  The only time I asked for a small favor was the night my solider was leaving to go to post and board the plane, I asked for 5 minutes to say my goodbyes via phone and finish talking when class was about to start.  Despite all my emotional turmoil that night, I still managed to make it through a 3 hour class and not fall apart.  All I am asking, is for the approval to take spring break IF and ONLY IF the LT's R&R happens to fall during that week.  *Sigh* Just can't win them all I guess.  Any thoughts/suggestions for how to handle this one!?!

Tomorrow to keep myself busy/distracted from frustrating professors, I'm going to take pictures of campus with snow and just some general landmarks of the town I'm living in with snow.  LT and I are winter people, so I'm sure he's missing the snow.  Hopefully I can make the iMovie/ DVD much faster than last time and add photos/dialogue quicker.  Then I'm going to experiment with baking cake in a jar and make some Muddy Buddies to put together an early Valentine's Day/ 6 year anniversary package.  Yes, 6 years, you read that right! The anniversary date isn't until March 24th, but I want to send him a bunch of letters/notes to open each week until the big 6 year.

Anywhoo- sorry if this came off as rambling, but I can't sleep tonight and just needed to clear my head.  If you have any suggestions about the R&R vs. professor showdown- please feel free to chime in.  I'd love another opinion about it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Let the Craziness Begin!

I'm going to warn you all, that this blog is going to be a SUPER long one.  I have lots to get caught up on and a whole lot that is going on right now.

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season.  I survived mine and keep hoping to get my belated Christmas phone call.   I was lucky enough to start my vacation from school in St. Louis where I got to see one of my best friends return from her semester abroad in China.  I missed her so so so much this semester. We did manage to talk a lot via Skype, but it is still not that same as spending time together.  Shortly after she arrived, I returned home to work, make a little money, and finished up my Christmas shopping.  Holidays were rather low key for me, Christmas Eve morning was spent with my Mom's side of the family.  We stuffed our faces and enjoyed playing with the new baby in the family.  I didn't get to see the baby much because I was sick in the previous week so I kept my distance to ensure the little one would stay healthy.

Christmas Eve was the toughest day for me.  That is when usually the LT and I have our celebration together.  I kept tradition and spend the evening with his family- dinner, church and the presents as usual.  His family had a DELICIOUS dinner planned, but I was still not feeling 100% after the flu so I just managed to pick at dinner.  Church was actually really hard, and I even welled up a time or two.  The LT and I aren't really into God or church, we're more into spirituality and living with balance in your life.  He is more religious than I am, but I always go to church with his family because they enjoy the Christmas Eve service.  Usually, the LT and I are making jokes about me possibly incinerating/being "smited" right on the spot when walking into a church and I missed his constant jokes and teasing.  There was also a prayer/ mention of troops and their families, and his family and I were recognized along with other military families.  I almost lost it right then and there, I have no clue how but I held it together through the rest of the service and the evening with his family.
We returned to his family's house after church was over and I was surprised with some awesome new lounge clothes, and the first season of Glee (yes I am a "Gleek") from his family and some very sweet presents from the LT.  He gave me a photo that had 2 people's feet in the sand and it looked like our names were drawn in the sand of the photo.  It was very sweet and I started to cry.  The photo was significant because we took a trip to Myrtle Beach after the LT graduated and commissioned.  All the "missing him" emotions really welled up and I just wish he could have been there with his family and I.  I also took photos with his family and they even had a special photograph ornament with the LT in his uniform.  

I also managed to pull off a surprise for his family.  I tried to make a double service star quilt for his Mom last year but didn't get it done in time (the LT's brother is also in the Army ROTC and going to commission in December of 2012).  This year I finished it a few days after Christmas,  and helped them hang it in their home.  I'll post some photos at the end of the blog.  She was very excited to get it, and hung it up within the hour of me bringing it over.  Post-Christmas was spent with shopping, returns, exchanges, and another trip to St. Louis.  I spent NYE with "the girls" and yes, I was in St.  Louis for the tornado.  It didn't hit where I was staying but it was still rather alarming to wake up to tornado sirens going off.  NYE/ Feliz-Navidad-ukah (we celebrate Christmas with Mexican food and also made up for missing Chanukah for my friend) was a success and lots of laughter/drinks were had by all.

My jet-setting has continued, I have returned to graduate school.  I have a meeting tomorrow, and then my clinicals start later this week- eek!! I'm excited to start practicing what I have been learning/studying for the last 4.5 years, but it is still nerve wracking none the less.  Classes are starting in 2 weeks, and man is this semester going to be hell.  18 credit hours in grad classes- yuck!! I have 9 hours of classes on Tuesday, 3 hours on Wednesday, 4 hours of clinic on Thursday and 4 again on Friday.  Oof!! At least the time will fly and make R&R get here sooner rather than later.

Any recommendations for R&R?? The LT and I want to take a trip if it happens to fall on my spring break, but I'm afraid he could get delayed and I could end up somewhere awesome all by myself.  Thoughts??

Ok- finally going to wrap this all up.  Here are some photos.  Enjoy, and Happy New Year to all of you!

Last Christmas.  Looking forward to the next Christmas we can have together.

The double service star quilt I made for his mother/ his family to keep in their house.

The photo that made me cry.  I already have it hanging in my apartment.  Miss you baby!!