Baby showers, VHS collections, and Instagram

We have a baby coming! Well, I don’t. And hopefully won’t until Brandon and I are ready. But our family will be welcoming a little dude in a little over a month. Brandon’s cousin, Mary, is expecting a nugget in June. It’s the first baby in their family for almost 13 years, so everyone is super duper excited! The shower was this past weekend, and it was adorable. Mary’s brother Matt, and her friend Jessica put the whole shindig together for the “Mommy to bee!” 

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How amazing is that fruit display? Other than Mary’s beautiful baby bump, I think the fruit and cake stole the show! It was such a fun little get together. It was also the first baby shower I’d ever been to… but I don’t think it’ll be my last 😛 Below is me, the mommy to bee, and Brandon’s other adorable cousins. I didn’t get the memo that we were supposed to look cute! 

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Recently, as in within 24 hours recently, Brandon and I decided we wanted to collect VHS tapes. Nostalgia + love of media + why rob ourselves of amazing films because they aren’t on bluray = us acquiring a VHS player and 43 tapes overnight. We scoped out Buy Backs, where they have an amazing deal where all VHS tapes under 3.99 were .49 cents for a limited time. From there we hit up the Mansfield Goodwill, where we got our VHS player and 3 movies. Today we went to the Goodwill in our home town where they were having a blue tag sale, so we got 19 more tapes for ten bucks! Yesterday we decided we didn’t want to get clamshells because they didn’t look as good and took up too much space, but again, why rob ourselves for aesthetics? So at Goodwill we bought some clamshell videos INCLUDING FLUBBER! 

Image This is only a small portion of our tapes, and we’ve since done some major reorganizing of our geek shelves. Our VHS tapes take up two shelves, we have a shelf in the middle that is jam packed with our action figures because they were evicted off their shelf, and then two for blurays. I posted a video on Instagram earlier showcasing the new VHS set up. I post a lot of nifty things on Instagram that don’t make it to my blog, so if you’re interested in my adventures or just my sweet VHS collection, hop on over and follow me!

 

Our Mini Vacation & A Wonderful Phone Call

Part of growing up is not getting a spring break to take vacation with your family. I mean, if my job actually gave me vacation time I could… but they don’t. So when my family told Brandon and me they were taking a 9 day vacation to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina (a place we had visited before and absolutely loved!), we were a little more than upset, to say the least. I’m 20, Brandon is 19. We both work very demanding and hard jobs. We wanted a vacation, too! But we sucked it up and said, “Oh well. Maybe next year.” We were still upset when they left and the day after they left. And then we checked our schedules.

By some miracle, our schedules at work had changed without our knowledge. We both worked Saturday and Sunday, but we had Monday and Tuesday off. I had Wednesday off, and he went in at noon on Wednesday. Because we are crazy young folk, we decided to make the 11 hour drive down to the very bottom of North Carolina for a day and then come back. We both worked very long shifts over the weekend, and Sunday we both got off at 2 pm. We got home around 3 pm, switched clothes, and hit the road. Well, we hit up McDonalds… and then we hit the road. 

We knew we could do an 11 hour drive. But what we didn’t factor in is that 11 hours is a lot harder when you’ve had an exhausting weekend at work. Brandon got to sleep in until 9 on Sunday, but I was up bright and early at 4:30 in the morning after not getting to bed until midnight. Luckily he did nearly all the driving on the way down. I didn’t get much sleep on the drive, maybe an hour and a half total. We switched around 2 am on the side of the road, and then we got there a little after 3. 

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After maybe 4 hours of sleep in the most comfiest bed in the entire world (not just saying that because we were beyond exhausted… it seriously was like sleeping on a cloud) we were up and greeted with 50 degree weather. We drove 11 hours to the ocean and got crappy weather. Just our luck. It didn’t stop us from going out and dipping our toes in. Brandon had never seen the ocean before. I thought he would be more excited to see it than he actually was. I actually asked him when we were on the back deck of the house if he liked the ocean and he said, “It’s crazy… England is over there somewhere!” What a dork! 

Again, by some stroke of magic, things turned in our favor. By noon it was over 70 degrees out. The sun was hot and the ocean was begging us to take a dip. We threw on our bathing suits and headed down to our little slice of backyard heaven. We splashed around for a while, playing in the waves and digging our toes in the sand. It wasn’t long before I was ready for a nap. I headed back in, showered up, and laid back down on that bed sent down from angels. Brandon wasn’t ready to call it quits, though, and kept playing in the ocean with my brother, sister, aunt, and grandma. From what I heard, he had a blast! 

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Can you see the beginning of that sunburn? YUCK! We got a little burnt, but not nearly as bad as my sister, cousin, and brother’s girlfriend. I felt so sorry for their little bodies. My mom is an expert in sunburns, though, and she was quick to get them lotion-ed down.

Brandon and I didn’t really have a lot of money for the trip, just for gas and snacks on the trip down. As much as we like to go out and do things, we really just wanted to stay in and enjoy our day long vacation. We hung around and played with my family. At some point Brandon thought it would be a good idea to take a bike ride down to the pier. Not go to the pier, just ride down there. 2 and a half miles later we were dying. That’s a long way for chubby folk like us to bike! And then we had to go back. My glutes were burning! Just as the sun was setting that night, my aunt, cousin, and her boyfriend came back from a walk and said there was a jellyfish on the beach! So we had to go check it out. It was huge! While we were down there staring at the jellyfish, we happened to spot some dolphins that were extremely close to shore. A girl nearby said they were stuck in the tide, but I don’t know how true that is. They were seriously so close that I could walk out and touch them. 

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We watched the sunset and headed back inside the beach house. I didn’t make it past 9:30, I was so sleepy! The next morning we woke up and hung out for a while longer, linger on the porch and watched the beautiful ocean. There is something so ethereal about the way the waves dance on the shore and the slight echo of the water. I could have stayed there forever, mesmerized by the beach. And then some. But we had to go. We actually could have stayed a little later, but we wanted the bulk of our drive home to be in daylight. Neither of us are good night drivers. 

I drove halfway through North Carolina before we stopped to eat at a Bojangles. Hello, delicious chicken. Brandon took over and we made it just past the Virginia state line before stopping for gas. I drove from there allllll the way through West Virginia. Well, about 120 miles before West Virginia was over. We stopped and switched and Brandon finished the drive home. Of course, we stopped to get White Castle because all of the ones in our area of Ohio are closed! We got home just around 10 at night. 

Even though we spent 22 hours total driving and like, 30 hours at the house with my family, it was well worth it. Even if you’re the most cautious and by the book person, every now and then you have to through everything to the wind and say, “I’m going to do something crazy!” and that is just what we did. Honestly, we had just as much fun on the drive. It was an amazing trip that neither of us will forget. And it’s got us even more excited for the wedding and honeymoon since we’re going down to Florida.

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On the drive home I got the sweetest phone call from an old friend, Kate. She told me how she reads my blog and noticed that in my tattoo post I talk about hating the birds on my shoulder. In a lot less words that don’t do her any justice, she said she knows how terrible it feels to be ashamed and hurt by a tattoo. Someone helped her get a bad tattoo fixed, and she wanted to help me. She offered to pay for me to get it covered up before the wedding. I was, and still am, so flabbergasted and amazed at the kindness in this girl! I had long decided I would have to put up with my gross tattoo on my wedding day, and I’d just have to suck it up and not worry about it. But because of her I will definitely be the most confident and beautiful bride. I will never be able to express my thanks to her. 

 

Spring Cleaning

I don’t know if anybody necessarily likes cleaning. I certainly don’t. But what I do like is the smell of a freshly clean house, the look of sparkling floors, a neatly made bed, and a bright happy house. I have had a love/hate relationship with having my own house because there is so much space to clean. Before when I lived on my own, I was in a dorm. Then Brandon and I lived with his parents, then my mom. We’ve been in our own place for around 6 months, and ever since I’ve had a difficult time making myself clean while trying to motivate Brandon to help (he rarely does).

After a few days of good weather, Ohio laughed and gave us snow. Today, all the snow was gone, but it was still 40 degrees. I couldn’t wait any longer to get my spring cleaning done, so I opened all the windows, put on Pandora, and began cleaning. I used Kelly Oribine’s spring cleaning list (she has since moved blogs over here– seriously, check her out, she’s a wonderful woman). I modified the list to fit my house and needs, but if you’re looking for a little help with spring cleaning, start with that list.

I really don’t want to share some of these before pictures because they’re embarrassing. My house was gross. Like, we’ve been working our butts off with work and school, too tired to cook a microwave meal let alone clean my house, gross. But I’m going to share them just because the before/after is really crazy. Collectively, I cleaned (with a little help from Brandon!) for around 4 hours.

So my living room. It was gross. You can say it. This was even after I picked up all the dishes last night in frustration. No matter how many times I tell Brandon to take his trash in when he’s done, he never does. So I’m left doing it after a three day stand off. Anyhow. Here’s my living room before, and here it is after.

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What a difference! I decluttered, cleaned the coffee and side table, swept, mopped, did the windows, and let some light in. I also did our tiny little entry way and front door. I also dusted the tv stand and our three bookshelves. Below is 2/3 of our geekshelves! Our third one houses our record player, record, POP figures, comics, and some action figures.

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Our dining room was next. I just decluttered and put some shoes in their rightful place. Not entirely worthy of pictures. Our bathroom is the same way. I keep the bathroom clean no matter what. The thought of a dirty bathroom gives me the chills. So I make an effort to clean it every other day, or at least twice a week.

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Our bedroom was just messy. The bed hadn’t been made in like, a week. Seriously. I hate getting into a unmade bed, but my sheets like to do that thing where the corners come up as soon as you climb in. Eventually I just threw my hands up and stopped making the bed. I don’t have a dryer at the house- we use a clothesline. I need to wash our bedding at my mom’s house, but I just haven’t ventured over. We are trying to find a new bed set, but seeing as how it took us 4 months to settle on the orange, I don’t know how long it’ll be before we get a new one. All I know is that the orange doesn’t match the black and it freaks me out. So I want something new, preferable black/gray/red. I would also like to eventually get a headboard, but Brandon hates them. We have a platform now, and I think it just looks strange without a headboard.

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I was dreading the kitchen. It just seemed like it needed to be quarantined. When I got in there, though, it wasn’t that bad. A few dishes from the night before. Trash needed taken out. The stove needed cleaned, and the floors needed mopped. Boom! Done. What I was dreading more than the kitchen was our office. In the 6 months we’ve been in our home, the office hasn’t been cleaned. It is the end of the road for a lot of our junk. Seriously, last week I had to push all of my textbooks and bills to the floor so I could see my computer screen. Bags of clothes that need to be donated, wedding junk, school junk… just junk everywhere.

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I made quite a few hauls down to the basement with junk we don’t need or use anymore. Organized the desks. Cleaned the floors and windows. My wedding stuff used to be in the basement, but with as much as I’ve been working on it lately, it is keeping it’s position on top of the dresser. At least for now.

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The house looks and smells great! Here’s to hoping it stays that way for at least a week? Maybe? A girl can hope!

World’s Best Chicken and Corn Casserole

I take “world’s best” claims very seriously, especially when it comes to food. I love food. Like… a lot. Probably more than a normal person should. Yeah, you could say my love for food borders on the creepily obsessed. So when I see a recipe say it’s the “world’s best” of anything, I’m going to try it, regardless if I think I’ll like it or not.

This is the case with the world’s best chicken, found on Rachel Shultz’s blog. I love Rachel’s blog and all the delicious recipes she posts! When I saw the recipe I was both excited and dissapointed. Like I said, I love “world’s best” recipes, but I hated the ingredients involved. Nevertheless, I made an effort to try it. With it, I made corn casserole (one of both our families favorite dishes- it never lasts when it’s made!) and served some salad.

 

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THE WORLD’S BEST CHICKEN

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper
Fresh rosemary

 

CORN CASSEROLE

1 can corn, drained
1 can cream-style corn
1 package Jiffy muffin mix
1 cup sour cream
½ stick of butter, melted

 

So I don’t like red wine vinegar, and the thought of mixing mustard and syrup together makes me grimace… but I tried it anyway. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. Definitely not my favorite recipe. The sauce mixture was very strong and totally overran my tastebuds. I wouldn’t give it the title of “world’s best” chicken. Maybe like, 500th place chicken? 

Working as a nurse aid

I completed my last day of working full time at my nursing home Friday. Working over 40 hours a week at a job 45 minutes away was taking a toll on nearly every aspect of my life. My grades were dropping, my house was a disaster, I never cooked, I was always too tired, and I was grumpy to Brandon. Now I’m working 3 days a week, and it is awesome! Granted, my house is still a little messy and I’m still always tired, my dishes get done every day and I have time to spend on homework and with Brandon. 

I got to work yesterday after being gone and walked past my favorite resident’s room to see it empty. He had passed away over the weekend when I wasn’t there. I have dealt with death in my nursing home before, but not of a resident that I cared for beyond a work level. He was such a sweet man, and I looked forward to seeing his wife come in every day for lunch. I’d go in there and talk with her when I had a break from call lights, and we’d sit and talk for as long as I could. I looked up his obituary when I got home and luckily I hadn’t missed his funeral- it was today. So Brandon and I woke up early and made the drive over. His wife was so happy to see me, and I was having the worst time keeping myself from crying! (Brandon, on the other hand, started crying and he didn’t even know the man!). 

I think the hardest part of my job is the work goes with you. I can’t check my work baggage at the door. I deal with life and death every single day. Sometimes we forget that while we’re changing people’s messy pants or making beds. But we are the life support for a lot, if not all, of the residents in the home. It’s hard not to connect with some more than others. It gets especially difficult when their family gets involved in the emotions, too. Yes, if I had to choose between the long hours, backbreaking physical labor, cleaning up bowel moments, and the difficult line of love with residents- I’d pick that as the worst. It’s hard for me to step back and say I can’t connect with these people because that’s not the type of person I am. I guess I’m still trying to find my balance. 

I have always believed in the rule of 3’s. With the passing of this resident, it’s a sign 2 more will go soon. This rule, sadly, has never disappointing in fulfilling itself. My first day of work as a nurse aid, we lost a resident. A week later we lost a second, and almost two weeks after that, a third. Not to mention the countless instances of this rule in my personal life. It makes me extremely nervous for the next few weeks at work.

This post has gotten entirely too morbid, so here’s some wonderful things about being an aid! When resident’s call you in their room to give you chocolate, even though they’re not supposed to. When someone thanks you for your hard work, because thanks is a word not used often in a long-term care facility. The smile on the resident’s faces when they see you. The smile on their families faces when they see you. Knowing you’re helping people who truly need it. Knowing your making a difference.

That’s what counts. 

Spur of the moment trip to the lake!

Brandon and I both have very hectic schedules, so when we get a day off together (a very rare treat!) we like to go out and adventure. I’m not a big fan of going to the movies, and he isn’t a big fan of walking around the mall. So sometimes it can be frustrating to figure out what to do, especially in mid-Ohio in the beginning of April. But we were blessed with warm weather, so I suggested we go up to see the Marblehead Lighthouse. I’d never been before, and it wasn’t that far from our town.

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It was a few degrees cooler up on the lake, something I forgot about! But it was still a beautiful day. I’ve lived in the same part of Ohio my entire life, and I’d never made the 45 minute journey up to see this landmark. This lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States! We walked around for a bit, taking pictures and talking about the view. You can see Cedar Point from the lighthouse, so it definitely made us even more excited for summer. Neither one of us fit on roller coasters, but the thought of amusement parks made us long for our Honeymoon in a few months. We are going to Magic Kingdom, Legoland, and Universal Studios. Kids at heart, right?!

Next we drove a few miles down the road to visit the state park and see the beach. Again, lusting for summer! We were the only people there, not surprisingly. Most people would think it was too cold, but not us! While Brandon was writing “Help Send Tacos” in the sand, I slipped my shoes off and rolled my pants up, then ventured out into the water. It was cold at first, but warmed up as soon as I started moving around. We waddled out farther than we thought we could! 

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I thought I was itching for it to be summer before, but now I’m going crazy! I can’t wait for warmer weather, shorts, swimming, and being able to take more spontaneous trips with my love. Plus, we are getting hitched this summer, so that is another reason to count the days (123 until the wedding, but who is counting?). Anyone within a reasonable driving distance should really check this landmark out if you are bored this spring or summer. 

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