Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week in the Life: Day 3

“Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.” 
-Madeleine L’Engle

The story of Wednesday:

The alarm went off this morning (and every morning) at 6:00 am. Rob was long gone to work, so I took advantage of the quiet, dark house and hit the snooze button for another 9 minutes of respite. Although my goal was to actually snooze, I found myself awake with three minutes to spare. I rolled over and grabbed my phone from the nightstand. I did a quick check on my inbox, just reading the subject lines and not actually opening the emails and then scrolled through my Facebook and Instagram feeds, browsing what had been posted since the night before. Today the feeds seemed endless, and by the time I got to the "end," I was running a few minutes behind schedule. So I popped out of bed and headed for the shower, wondering what awaited me today.

While putting on my make-up, I was able to finish my assigned reading for Sunday School (chapters 2 and 3 of Why by Adam Hamilton), so I browsed Pinterest on the Nook while I blew my hair dry. I found myself just scrolling through the pins, nothing actually caught my interest enough to repin this morning.

Sometimes I feel like a "bag lady" as I head out for the day. Today I definitely had my hands and shoulders full! In my purse, I carried my wallet, phone, lipstick pouch, and keys, as well as my Nikon sDLR camera. I also had my exercise bag slung over my shoulder, holding a change of clothes and shoes, as well my laptop and power cord. In my hands I held my lunch bag packed with a frozen meal for lunch and snacks for the afternoon, as well as my Tervis Tumbler filled with ice water. I can't imagine adding a diaper bag to this pile in a few months!

I caught the most beautiful sunrise on the way to the mailbox this morning. Two different flocks of geese flew over my head as I trekked down the driveway. I had two Netflix dvd envelopes to send out. However, our mailman seems to be getting pretty lax; when I got home from work, I realized that he delivered the mail, but didn't actually take the mail that was left for pick up.

I've been driving my 2014 Mazda CX-5 for just over a year now. One of the things that I love about it is that it gets great gas mileage for a small SUV... usually 28 or 29 mpg. However, after our trip this past weekend, the tank was drained; when I got in this morning, the dashboard showed 12 miles until an empty tank. On the way to work, I took a detour to run by the Shell gas station. [Years ago Rob asked my grandfather, a petroleum geologist, which brand of gas was best, and ever since then we've been dedicated to the Shell brand.] I filled up 12.371 gallons for $33.88, and of course, I recorded this data in my AutoCare iPhone app, so that I can track my car maintenance... that is, if I actually cared enough to crunch the numbers later.

Only in the last few days have I really noticed the leaves changing color here in South Carolina. Fall has arrived. While we had a few chilly days last week, this week has been relatively mild... mostly in the 70's, no jacket needed. Although I heard rumors that the temperature was supposed to drop again this weekend.

Too many tabs open this morning... both on my computer and in my mind.
  • Posting videos from yesterday's lab
  • Troubleshooting why the videos won't play (realized that you can't use an ampersand in the file name)
  • Looking for inspiration for Christmas Eve service postcard invitations
  • Reading blogs
  • Making a list of additional stories to capture this week
  • Checking in on both work and personal email
  • Trying to record the week's stories in Evernote before they're forgotten

I try to make a point to get out of the office during the lunch hour a couple of times during the week. It helps break up the monotony of the day. While sometimes I just go out just to browse, today I had a goal in mind. I headed to Jo-Ann's fabric store to get the supplies to finish my Halloween costume and to experiment with a triangle garland for the nursery. And, of course, while I was out, I ran through the drive-through at Burger King for a medium Coke Icee... one of the only things that I've "craved" while pregnant.

Before I got pregnant, I had established a really great exercise schedule, running regularly and attending boot camp classes several days a week. Unfortunately though, I've really had to scale back over the last couple of months because I was afraid I would push myself too hard. As an alternative, I returned to Zumba classes (which was the gateway drug to my previous fitness routine). Every Wednesday night I would head to Excel Fitness for a $5 Zumba class with Cassie. As my belly has grown, I have noticed that my flexibility and stamina has decreased... while everybody else is doing jumping jacks, I'm just tapping my toes out to either side. So a few weeks ago, I set the goal to finish out my second trimester, which made tonight's class my last class until after Baby B is born.

When I arrived at the gym, I learned that the class schedule is changing next week, and it was Cassie's last Zumba class to teach as well. Some of her original "Fitness Divas" (girls that attended class back when I started in 2011) showed up to wish her well. It was so much fun to have a full class with so much personality pulsing through the room. She pulled out all of the favorite songs and routines, and as is tradition, we finished the night with a group picture.

Earlier in the week, Rob offered to take me out for dinner to celebrate my last fitness class for a while. Unfortunately there are not many restaurant options on our side of town. Because it was already dark (and therefore late, in my opinion) and we were both still in sweaty workout clothes, we decided that a run to Taco Bell would do the trick. It wasn't the quickest fast food drive-through I've ever been to, but my three beef fresco tacos sure did hit the spot.

At one of my first OB appointments, the doctor suggested that I take three Tums a day to counterbalance the fact that I rarely, if ever drink milk. And, with the amount of heartburn I've had the last few weeks, I'm more than willing to pop these like candy before bed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week in the Life: Day 2

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
-Maya Angelou

Here is the story of Tuesday:

The clocks in our house are all set at different times, depending on whether Rob or I set them. His alarm clock is 10 minutes fast, while mine is right on; the microwave is just slightly fast, while my watch for some reason is two minutes slow. I have to constantly calculate throughout the morning to make sure that I'm not running behind. It's like living in a math word problem... "if the clock upstairs reads 7:15 but is seven minutes fast, what does the downstairs clock which is three minutes slow read?"

A few years ago I decided to challenge myself to make the bed every morning for 30 days. The habit stuck, and these days it's rare that I leave the house to an unmade bed. If I hit that last bit of my morning routine before 7:15, I know I'm on time. However, this morning I was already pushing 7:20. Knowing that I still needed to pack my snacks, put dinner in the crockpot, and take my daily WITL selfie before heading out the door, I decided there wasn't time to fold a load of clothes, too. That will just have to wait until the evening.

For dinner tonight I've planned pork chops in the slow cooker. I love the ease of the slow cooker, but using it means I've got to get my butt in gear to prepare it before I leave for work. I'm using a new recipe today, and as I gathered the ingredients, I realized I didn't have any brown sugar. Luckily a quick Google search told me I can substitute real sugar, or Splenda in this case. I set the timer for 6 hours, hoping the meat doesn't get too dry throughout the day. I always feel a little apprehensive leaving a hot electrical appliance on while I'm at work, so I said a little prayer that it neither burns the food nor burns the house down.


I always look forward to my drive to work... I relax in the routine. I try to wave to the crossing guard at the elementary school around the corner. I apply my lipstick and take one last look at myself in the mirror to make sure I'm put together. This morning I finished listening to Elise Cripe's latest podcast episode that I started last night while tidying up. I also listened to a song from Elise Barrett's new cd... I'm trying to learn the lyrics by playing the songs over and over again.

Tuesday afternoons are usually devoted to an OMM lab for the first year students. I spent some time this morning preparing for the lab, printing copies of the lab presentation for each faculty member. The closest printer to my office doesn't have a staple feature, so I have to manually collate and staple each packet. I also printed check-off worksheets for each student and then cut the full page sheets in half. Then I assigned doctors to proctor each room and went upstairs to tape the sign-in sheets on the door. I turned on the audiovisual system to make sure there weren't any issues to troubleshoot.

Mid-morning, Callie messaged me through Google Chat. I love that technology allows us to bridge the distance from Spartanburg to Shreveport. We can chat throughout the day and keep up with each other through the monumental and the mundane, through the silly and the serious. Today's conversation started when inspired by a Bible study she's working through, Callie asked me to give my "knee-jerk reaction" to the question, "Does God cause us to be in pain?" Coincidentally we are both reading books by Adam Hamilton and therefore bounced quotes and ideas off of each other before moving on to more lighthearted subjects.

On the days when labs are scheduled, lunch is provided. Today was chicken and wings from Fatz Cafe. The doctors are in the conference room as they reviewed the upcoming lab, but I took my plate back to my office to soak in a last few minutes of quiet before lab began at 1pm. 

A few minutes before lab I headed upstairs to meet the students and download the updated presentation. Today's lab was an introduction to osteopathic treatments of the cervical spine, one of the introductory concepts for the first year students. It seems like after sitting through these labs I should be able to do it myself, but that is far from reality. I'm doing good to recognize some of the terms.
Throughout both sessions of the lab (half the class at a time), I sat at the front of the main lab room to control the camera views as the presentation is simulcast to all of the other lab rooms. I tried to guess what to focus on and which views communicate better, but Dr. Williams was always quick to direct me to zoom in or show a different angle. I also recorded each clip, so the students can watch the videos as they study. While the students practiced the techniques, I was able to relax for a second... during these breaks today, I typed up the WITL stories on my phone.

I find it intriguing to consider the phases we seem to go through with our dinner choices. I'd be the first to admit that my picky palate is (and always will be) the limiting factor when it comes to our culinary adventures. However, I'm proud that I have expanded my tastes in the last few years. Tilapia (see yesterday), sweet potatoes, and roasted broccoli are now regulars in our meal rotation.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week in the Life 2014: Day 1

"Those who tell the stories rule the world."
-Hopi American Indian proverb

Here is the story of Monday:

We returned home late last night from our annual Beach Ride weekend in Charleston. We dropped our luggage and headed straight to bed, knowing Monday morning would come soon. In addition to sandy, dirty laundry, and wonderful memories, both Rob and I brought back wickedly sunburned feet.

We're unpacking the suitcases as we go this morning. In the craziness of packing for our trip, we left the house in a whirlwind. There's a lot of tidying up that needs to be done in the upcoming days to make it livable again.

One of my most critical tasks at work is to keep the faculty in the loop about their responsibilities. In my first weeks on the job, I implemented a weekly email laying out the schedule and expectations for the week. It's usually one of my first to-do items on Monday morning, and if the faculty hasn't received by mid-day, they start emailing asking for it. This week the schedule is pretty straightforward: only labs on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, but they have no excuse to not to show up when and where they're needed.

Since my work is not as consistent or as time-consuming as it once was, I often use my downtime to work on other projects, including my freelance communications work for the church. Today my main freelance task was creating a new Google calendar for the church, linking it to the website and finishing the November newsletter.

Although I'm not strictly following the Brewer Pregnancy Diet, I try to keep the main guidelines in mind as I plan my meals for the day. Limiting my sugar intake, upping my proteins, and trying to squeeze in as many baked potatoes and eggs as possible. Packing my lunch and planning my daily snacks take the most effort, but make the biggest impact. If it's packed and ready to go, I'm much less likely to grab something unhealthy. What an aha moment it was a few weeks ago to realize that I could bake a potato in the microwave while at work! Today I've got gluten-free chicken fingers and a potato in my lunch bag, along with a single serving of my favorite Pirouline wafer cookies and a bag of mixed nuts for snacks.

I also went up to the church this afternoon to meet a new client, who has asked me if I could help him update the website for the lobbying association that he heads up. Usually I turn down projects like this, but something about this one had me intrigued. Mr. Hughes is an older gentleman with lots of personality... I hope that the project is as straightforward as it seems because I really enjoyed meeting him.

Grocery shopping is so much more effective and efficient if I go with a shopping list and meal plan in hand. I try to map out the meals for the week using Google calendar. I can see what I've made recently, easily store links to recipes, and can pull it up both on my phone or the laptop. I usually pull up a Google Calendar tab every Monday morning but often get distracted throughout the day and find myself scurrying around at 4:45 to organize a plan before I head to Ingle's.

Rob texted me in the middle of the day, asking if we could just chill tonight. Thinking of all the things on my to-do list, I replied, "yeah, that and grocery shop and laundry and..." Lucky for me (not so lucky for him), Rob didn't get home until 7:00. This have me a chance to start the laundry, put away the suitcase, and create/send an invoice before cooking dinner and settling on the couch for a movie. Sure, there are still dishes in the sink and mile-high piles on the breakfast table, but these moments together are the ones to cherish.

Week in the Life 2014

"Our days are built with stories."
-Ali Edwards

I knew Ali Edwards' annual Week in the Life project was quickly approaching, but I hadn't decided whether I would participate this year. As usual, I was on the fence about committing to yet another project in the midst of the many that I'm already juggling.

However, after her inspiring post last week, "Our Days are Built With Stories," I knew I was all in. I'm sure I will be referring back to this post for inspiration for other projects, but I couldn't miss the opportunity this week to record my stories.

This will be my third time to tackle the Week in the Life challenge [also in 2010 and 2012]. Since I seem to be working in a two-year cycle, documenting life in 2014 seems to make sense. It's amazing to look back to consider what has remained constant and what has changed even in this short four-year time frame. For example, my job situation is completely different in each of these years, but I'm guessing that my breakfast choices this year will be identical to previous years.

With the arrival of Baby B on the horizon, this will be one of the last opportunities I have to tell the stories of my life, pre-kids. I am eager to capture the rhythm and routine of my days right now.

In 2010 I focused on the photos; in 2012 I focused on the timeline. And, like Ali, this year I'm focused on the stories. The hows and the whys as much as the whats and the whens. I don't know yet what that means for the final album... what medium or what layout will be the best way to make the stories sing. But, I'll cross that road when I get to it... this week, I'm carrying my dSLR, reaching for my iPhone camera, jotting down notes on scraps of paper, and fleshing out stories in an Evernote document.

Can't wait to see what the week holds!

If you are looking for inspiration on how to capture your own Week in the Life, check out these awesome posts:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nursery paint colors

"I love you beyond paint, beyond melodies, beyond words. And I hope you will always feel that, even when I'm not around to tell you so.”
-Kiera Cass

Most of the rooms in our house are still painted the oh-so-love shade of "builder khaki"... including the nursery. But as we fix up Baby B's room, a fresh coat of paint is top of the to-do list.

I'm leaning towards a gray, hoping that the teal, coral and citron will really pop! I mocked up a few of my favorite colors... to see how dark we can go!

What do you think?
Wall color is Olympic Secret Passage
Wall color is Valspar Gray Plank
Wall color is Valspar Pewter

Knowing that Rob is training for his annual bicycle ride to the beach (this Friday!!), I didn't expect that we would start any of this big project until after that. However, he got a wild hair this weekend. We were able to clear out the room and put some sample paint up on the walls to consider.

Now we just have to decide...

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