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Two weekends ago- we took a long weekend and went to Atlanta. We got a Citypass- and visited some of the best parts of the city. Your dad is from Atlanta- but it was super fun to go there and do a mix of the touristy stuff- plus some local things too.
Our first and favorite place- this aquarium was amazing. Some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. And you- ?- You loved every second of it. You rubbed your hands across the glass and thought you were making the fish swim. You laughed and smiled so big. Dad’s cousin Samantha and her boyfriend TJ joined us- we had a lot of fun. One thing I’d like to remember is that during a cute 4D movie, water splashed the audience. It scared you so much- that you peed (ALOT)- I felt your diaper get all warm, then I realized it was all over my leggings too. But it was way too funny for me to get mad! My favorite part of all was seeing the whale shark in the large tank at the end- it was unbelievably breathtaking.
After the aquarium, aunt Donna watched you overnight. Sam, TJ, Kristin, Dad, and I headed out for a night on the town. We went to Holy Taco, Porter’s, Twain’s, - and some other bar. The night was over at 4:30 AM. Dad ran into a childhood friend, Sam Kristin and I fought toilet paper rolls and hung out in photo booths. It was certainly a night to remember- (if only we could)…. haha.
The next day it took Dad and I almost all day to recover. We met you, Uncle Bob, Aunt Stacy, Aunt Donna, and Pop Pop at a restaurant to celebrate Pop Pop’s birthday.
We took a little tour around the CNN center- pretty cool to see where all the news comes from- but more cool to take a ride up the longest escalator in the world!
This place was super fun! It was really interesting to see the history of our favorite pop. (sorry- I’m a yankee and I will forever call it POP!) Best part? - The taste tests at the end!
Martin Luther King Jr. Center
Okay- so this place was not on the City Pass - but it has been one of my dreams to go to this place. I was amazed to learn about some of my heroes- Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi especially. I have been badgering your dad to take me here for almost four years- finally we got there :) It reminded me that I’m so glad that you were born into a world where schools aren’t segregated and people aren’t as hateful. Some are- but you can choose to not let them be your company- always remember the fights that have been made for justice.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
A cool history museum in Atlanta - you really enjoyed this!
It was as hot as heck outside- so the zoo was our last and quickest stop- but it was fun nonetheless. The best part was the carousel.
We ended our trip in Atlanta by seeing our friend Emily and visiting an awesome antique store.
All together this was an amazing trip and I’m so happy we got to go on all these little adventures together! I love you Scouty.
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1:58 PM Central Standard Time
Our Trip Down to Florida!
Time to catch you up on what’s been going on the past week! First post- our little trip down to Florida!!!
Thursday Feb 16th: My last day at work…. so incredibly bittersweet. Below: Me and my favorite patient: A.G Also, my co-workers had a fantastic lunch for me. I”m really going to miss that place. Good old 10W!
Friday Feb 17th: Woke up early, we had our U’haul packed up and headed south.
We stopped outside of Indianapolis to see your aunt Jaci and her boyfriend Jon for a late lunch.
We weren’t sure whether we wanted to drive through to Atlanta that night- but we decided against it- we ended up staying in my friend Janie’s house in Nashville. She actually wasn’t there- but we still enjoyed her room!
Saturday Feb 18th: Ended up in Atlanta to see Dad’s family. Didn’t take enough pictures- but it was really great. We want out for mexican with Maw-Maw then went to Aunt Donna and Uncle Mark’s house. After that we got so spend some quality time with great-grandma Retter and Pop Pop. You and Dexter were extra cuddly in the car.
Sunday Feb 19th: Woke up early and drove to Southern Florida. Crossing the border of Florida was an amazing feeling: it was 80 degrees!!!
We stopped in Sarasota Florida and stopped at the Old Salty Dog Cafe- like just like Man V. Food episode! We ate the original Salty dog and some Mahi Mahi Tacos with mango. It was absolutely delicious!
That night we stayed in a small inn about 7 miles from our apartment complex. (We couldn’t get in until Monday….) SCOUT YOU WERE SOO READY FOR THE BEACH!
11:41 PM Central Standard Time
Travel Nursing Begins!
We are on our way to a completely new life.
It’s a bit weird, leaving behind everything you know. It’s like saying goodbye to a city that has always been such a good friend to you. A city that never did anything wrong- except maybe have over-crowded tollways and weather that was always on its menstrual cycle. (But neither of those were its fault!)
Chicago is written all over my heart in such a deep way, I have a feeling that no matter where I end up going in life; I’ll never find a city that I love in the way that I love Chicago- a way that is genuine and DEEP. I don’t know where you will grow up or if you will even remember that you were born off of Michigan avenue and spent your newborn days on the stoop of a bar on the lower-west side.- but one day- I promise- I will take you to Chicago when you are older- and we will marvel at it, in the way it was meant to be marveled at, like while riding the ferris wheel at the world’s fair.
Despite saying goodbye to my city, my amazing friends at work, and my chicago-land family-I feel ready to go, and terribly ansy. I usually enjoy car rides but I dread that any second something is going to happen to ruin our chances at this adventure. I feel like any moment the hospital is going to call me and tell me that a rogue hurricane destroyed the town and they don’t need me. I’m afraid that somehow this adventure is going to slip through my fingers when I’m not even paying attention. It’s silly I know- but for once I feel like everything is actually working out very well- and even though I love my life, nothing ever got where to where it was in my life by first “working out well.” Usually messes are what brought my circumstances together.
I’m also a little bit afraid of the unknown in my new job. I fortunately adapt very well to new situations. However, that still doesn’t ease my mind when it comes to a brand new job with only two days of training involved. My travel nursing job is going to be working in the Emergency Dept in an “express admission” unit. To prove just how unprepared I may actually be, take this: I don’t even really understand what that unit is supposed to do. It sounded interesting, so I basically jumped onboard. The mystery of a new place, new experiences, new job, new human beings to meet- all these things thrill me beyond belief.
I wonder what it is in me that thrives off of the unknown. While others live for routine; routine makes me feel sick to my stomach and aching for drastic change. I wonder what I really want out of all this experience. Do I want to do it so I have a really colorful photo album to show you when you grow up? Is it so I can be an interesting person? Is it because settling down scares me to pieces?
We have finally arrived in Naples, and we are staying at a little motel a few miles away from our apartment. The key will be ready for pickup in the morning. You were mainly joyous over a portable DVD player in the car playing Baby Einstein. I’ve been playing movie trivia with dad in-between stupid arguments and lots of voice impersonations.
That reminds me Scout- before you marry someone, I’m going to make it mandatory that you take a long road-trip together. Dad and I have done so many of these- all of which have proved to us that even though we will argue and perhaps want to strangle each other at some points- we still desperately love each other. You learn a lot about a person for 22 hours in the car. Our honeymoon road trip clocked up +150 hours in the car. I’m lucky he stuck with me after that!
We crossed the state line today and I was overwhelmed with joy. I’m still nervous about a lot of things, but the 80 degree weather and the swaying palm trees was enough to rid me of my little anxiety and help me really embrace the beginning of this experience.
My life has gone SO differently than what I imagined 5 years ago. I never thought I’d be married now, and CERTAINLY not having a child. I figured I’d be a nurse, but I didn’t know much about what kind I would be. Even though at the time I may not have wanted a family so early- I think if my 18 year old self knew her future would be this- she wouldn’t be able to wait for it. She’d be so excited and full of joy. She’d be proud because she would know that her sense of adventure was still intact and running high. Her distaste for settling was still there and she has her own family full of unconditional love.
I’m really proud of what I’ve become so far- I’m not perfect- but I’m glad I’m where I’m at in this moment. I’m ecstatic that I have you, a little 8 month old baby wrapped up in her favorite blanket, spooning with my hip.
This has been a jumbled letter, but I had so much to say. What could sum it up is that we have left Chicago- and even though it is hard- I couldn’t be any more excited or proud to be where I’m at in life right now.
Let the adventures begin!
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This weekend was nice because we got to spend some sweet quality time together. I did have to call in sick to work today (I was sure my virus was coming back). And I felt off all day; but hey, that’s life I guess. I feel like maternity leave made my immune system go down the drain. I feel like I go home with whatever my patient’s had that day. It’s an awful feeling.
In other stories, my travel nursing job looks like it is falling into place. I finished up the last pieces of it and I’m thinking they are going to email me this week saying my license is a go. Once that happens we can get ready to find a travel job that fits us. Your dad are hoping to find one near an organic farm. We stumbled across this amazing organization in which you live on organic farms in exchange for a free place to stay.
Now, this travel nursing job would provide us with free housing, but if you find your own place, they give you an additional stipend, which would be even more money to save up. So, fingers are crossed here. Florida never really seemed like my style, I’m more a pacific northwest mountain type, but the colder it gets in Chicago, the more Florida sounds pretty great. Especially because nearly every job location either ends in the word “beach” or starts with the word “port.” - and I love oceans.
The other day your dad and I laid on the floor together for nearly an hour and half just talking about all sorts of stuff. funny things, serious things, and dreams. We talk ALL THE TIME, but there was something sweet about lying on the floor, holding hands, and talking about wanting to go back to Honduras and be foster parents. Or, run some clinics. Your dad is amazing to talk to. We both have big dreams and I appreciate that they line up most of the time. Speaking of that, your dad got accepted to an online bachelor’s degree program. It’s for behavior science; and I think he will love it. I’m praying we can somehow afford the payments or get the right amount of financial aid. He would be so good at being a social worker, or counselor, or whatever he decides.
What else you ask? I dyed my hair dark brownish red the other day. I love dark hair in the winter. Add one of my favorite hats and voila!
Hmm..yesterday we went to the craft fair in Chicago. It was a bit too crowded but still lots of inspiration.
We left with only one purchased item in our bag (umm, chicago flag onesie for xmas!), but we headed straight to JoAnn fabrics because we decided we were going to learn how to sew. We bought the materials and sewed together on the floor. The velvet underground was playing softly in the background. I made you a little plush owl and dad made a little pink plush mustache.
I dressed you today and I think you looked beautiful. Beyond baby cute. But really, beautiful. I’m so not girly; but I get more satisfaction dressing you up than I ever thought I would.
I’m feeling a bit better, enough to go back to work, but I feel like i’m never going to be 100%. I miss you when I’m at work. Your little warm body next to mine. I never ever wanted to be a stay at home mom; but now I realize why people do it. Moments are fleeting; and you change so quickly. I can’t believe how much I miss.
I know we’ll always be close; but sometimes even skin-to-skin isn’t close enough to someone you love this much.
8:44 PM Central Standard Time
Sometimes while documenting all the special moments of everyday life, I forget to explain the big-picture. And as I lie all alone on the sofa, sick as a dog, I have the time to expand on some things.
When you were two months old your dad and I went to Tegucigalpa, Honduras to meet up with WGO to see if I we would want to work there full time. I explained in a few different past blogs, here, here, & here.
We had an amazing experience. I worked as a nurse there and your dad helped build concrete floors. We also played with a lot of kids, de-liced children, and met some amazing foster kids. It was an experience unlike any other, one that was so incredibly touching.
Below: Tegucigalpa (so beautiful isn’t it?)
Hanging out with this little girl after I de-liced her and did her hair.
The beautiful children.
Alex washing some hair.
Lines to get into the clinic.
Your dad and I got home and knew we had to pray a lot about this decision. We would be moving from Chicago to Honduras, with a little baby, to be missionaries. We didn’t even speak Spanish that well. It was a lot to think about.
Meanwhile we got back to the states and moved into my family’s house in Naperville, IL. About 30 miles west of chicago. They were amazing to us, but we were very use to having our own space, it was very different. Maternity leave ended and I started work on labor day. Going back to work was just like riding a bike. the only hard thing was breastfeeding and leaving Scout.
Just a few short weeks after staying with my family, my mom had a friend from work who was leaving with her husband and daughter to move to North Dakota for a short-term job assignment for a couple months. I mentioned that we would house-sit for them and they happily agreed. This gave us, once again, free rent, but our own space, our own house, etc. We “moved” into there mid-September, which is in Warrenville, IL, the town right next to my parents. So we have been living here, in someone else’s house, in a small town, in a surburbia land that we do not like at all. We crave Chicago during all moments and have a difficult time adjusting to the suburbs. Moving back seemed impossible at the time while we were still trying to get our finances in order and Chicago is a VERY EXPENSIVE TOWN.
We spent much of our time thinking/praying about our next step. Honduras? Back to Chicago? Something else?
We have a mutual restlessness that never seems to settle. While we watched our friends buy houses and pick a spot, we became all the more ready to pack up and travel. So we have decided a few things and here they are in a disorganized manner:
a. Daddy NEEDS to finish his social work degree. We decided we would be much more useful doing mission work once he had that. Plus, that is his passion.
b. I would also like to go back to school and become a Nurse practitioner, hopefully within the year or so. I worked next to a nurse practitioner in Honduras at the clinic, and I envied her competence.
(both of these degrees can be attained online).
c. We would like to learn Spanish. We just finished our first class :)
d. We would appreciate saving some money and funds before doing anything out of the country.
So after a bit, we realized there were somethings we needed to get done before we pack up and head out of country. It may be a few years, but that’s okay, we’re young :)
We decided to apply for a travel nursing job so we could see different parts of the USA, save up some big bucks, and get some new experiences. All the while, making great connections. I got accepted to the agency shortly after applying. In this agency, your gas and housing is paid for. I will also be getting paid a lot more than I do now. You pick a region that you want to go to and the agency helps pick a short term job assignment for you. (about 13-16 weeks). After looking around, and failing at finding a spot close to your Mimi and Geo, we finally decided on Florida. There are A LOT of jobs in Florida in the winter. I finished applying for my license transfer yesterday, so we have several weeks to wait and see how that goes. But because I’m with this travel agency, I’m told I should have no problem getting a job assignment in January. So it looks like we’ll be packing up this winter and heading south- to make new experiences and cure our restlessness. And then by the time our restlessness picks up again, it will be time for a new travel assignment, hopefully after that we’ll pick Pacific Northwest (we LOVE it up there!)
So Baby Scout, looks like if everything goes as planned you will be a world traveler! Home is wherever we’re together .Geography heals the adventurers in us that have been held back for awhile now. We are ready for a new chapter, something exciting.
I want to take you couch surfing, meet strange people, go hostel jumping, visit organic farms, go long-term camping. I may be a mom, but I don’t have to settle down. I hope this teaches you love for others, tolerance, and a zest for life.
I once read somewhere that people tend to live vicariously through others, often. I don’t want to be like that. This is my life, I want to live.
This is where Donald Miller, my favorite author, has a quote that comes in and fits perfectly to end this blog entry:
"No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath… We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?"
We had this quote on our wedding bulletins, time to live it out.
We’re gonna have fun Scout.
1:08 PM Central Standard Time
So here’s our big news: I recently got accepted to a travel nurse agency. We will start this job around thanksgiving/Christmas time if everything goes as planned. We will be moving around the U.S. to different cities for 13 weeks at a time. Alex will finish his social work degree online and we will be exploring different areas and meeting lots of new people. We hope to save up some money, get some good experience, and then God-willing move to Honduras in a few years. :)
I will expand further on this later, once we decide where our first assignment will be.