Contributing More than Your Opinion: Time, Talent, or Money

I just got done writing and deleting a very lengthy blog post/rant that I don’t think I’ll ever publish. Instead I’m going to share this with you:

If you are passionate about something, my pastor said this when I was in like 2nd grade, I will not forget his sermon, that there are three ways to contribute to a cause or your community: time, talent, or money.

Getting all up in someone’s biz-nass on Facebook because of what they do or do not post is not included on that list.

If you are passionate about a cause or a movement, for example Black Lives Matter or the Save the Children movement, ask yourself how you can donate your time, talent, or money.

Please note: getting in comment wars on Facebook are not included on that list.

This is a lesson I am working to learn as well. I’m going to tape it to the top of my computer screen so I remember it every time I’m tempted to say something.

Do you love Donald Trump? Instead of arguing about how great he is and how dumb everyone else is who wants to vote for Biden, go donate to his campaign or volunteer to help coordinate a rally in your community. Then tell me about the positive things he’s doing and why you like him.

Are you absolutely sickened by the pedophilia in this world? How about instead of shaming everyone in your newsfeed for NOT posting about it, sit down with your kids and talk to them about who they can trust when they are in trouble or uncomfortable.

Are you so pissed that 5 year old Cannon Hinnant was murdered in his front yard? I AM TOO! But instead of using his little life as a political pawn to tear down the black lives matter movement, how about you donate to and share the family’s go fund me page?

Turn your passion into progress. Turn your words into action and I promise to do the same.

My sister Kelli has sewn literally a thousand masks. Kelli is a HUGE proponent of wearing masks and thinks it is the right thing to do to help slow the spread of the virus. She is taking her passion about the topic and turning it into action.

When my dad died, I volunteered to speak at an event/banquet called Shine a Light to promote early lung cancer screenings. I turned my passion in action by sharing my time and talent and raising awareness.

My mom has spent an incredible amount of money on generators and chainsaws and other supplies to send to my brother to distribute to friends and family in Cedar Rapids, a town that was recently devastated here in Iowa by a freak storm called a derecho. Does she hop online and start shaming and blaming everyone who isn’t contributing the same way she is? That wouldn’t help much.

I have a dear friend who is a big Bernie supporter. I learned so much about him and his candidacy for president from her. She has met him and even volunteered with his campaign going door to door! She knew that I wasn’t a huge Bernie fan and she never once made me feel less than because of it. Seeing how passionate she was about the cause made me curious and ask questions! She wouldn’t have sparked that curiosity if she would have started with “here’s why your candidate is dumb.”

So guys, we are all learning. I’m not saying I don’t fire off in the comment sections, I’m not saying I don’t post political content on my personal page, I’m saying that I’m gonna start looking at things differently before I share. I’m going to ask myself these questions and I encourage you to do the same:

If I’m passionate about this topic, how are my actions backing up my words?

If I’m passionate about this topic, how can I contribute my time, talent, or money to this cause?

Will this post turn people on or off to my cause? Will it put someone down or make them feel less than? How can I put a positive spin on this post?

Is the person I’m responding to open to hearing different points of view or am I wasting my energy?

Has this person invited my opinion to the conversation?

Is there a chance this information isn’t accurate?

Would I say this to their face?

That’s all I have for today folks. This is the most politically charged or controversial post I’ve written so I expect some backlash but before you comment, ask yourself the above questions.

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A Date With Craig ❤️

How do you know it has been TOO LONG since you’ve been on a date? When you tell your three year old you’re going and they say “what is a date?!”

Craig took some much needed/much deserved time off of work this weekend and we had something very pressing on our bucket list: mountain biking!

So mountain biking is very different from trail riding like we do with the kids. Trail riding is usually on a paved trail. Mountain biking is in the woods, over tree roots, on rocky slopes, through creek beds, it’s the badass biking. Craig and I had gone once or twice but didn’t get that into it.

On Saturday morning we headed to Decorah – a town notorious for their man made maintain bike trails.

Our bikes that we take the kids biking with aren’t suitable for this kind of terrain so we rented two mountain bikes but they didn’t have any plain old mountain bikes for rent so we got electric mountain bikes. At first, I thought “Well that isn’t necessary!” They grabbed this beautiful bike on display and started explaining how to manage the electric part of the bike and it took a minute before I realized this was the bike they were renting ME! Like holy shit! It was on sale for $7,000!

A lot of people asked “What is an electric bike?” It’s a bike that you can ride with or without the extra pedaling power. It has a battery and when you pedal it will give your pedal more power. Now I realize it was necessary to get up those steep hills we were climbing! We were able toast twice as long on the trails because of the electric assist!

When Craig and I took off we topped out at 20 miles an hour on the trail on the way to the woods 😱 like POWERFUL.

We. Had. So. Much. Damn. Fun.

I’m so sore, I fell off so many times but then I got better as the morning went on and I wasn’t falling off in places that I previously had. We discovered our favorite routes, we dipped through creek beds, we rode along the side of steep hills.

The rest of the weekend has been honestly just sad. We realize we can’t afford bikes like that. We realized how much we absolutely adore mountain biking. We realize it isn’t realistic to invest in bikes like that because it isn’t something we can do as a family. We will have to keep renting and maybe someday we will save up and the boys will be old enough to come with. In the meantime, we are still coming down from the adrenaline rush.

Then we went to my favorite restaurant in Decorah: KOREANA. I got sushi (and Craig even tried it!) and then we went to the classic Whippy Dip where Craig and I had our first date 🙂

Here’s a funny story: I was actually texting another guy and we were going to meet up at 10 pm when I got off working as a CNA in the nursing home. He bailed on me last minute so instead I texted Craig and said, “Hey, meet me at the whippy dip at 10:10 ish, but they close at 10 so get me a small cookie dough tornado with extra cookie dough and I’ll pay you back when I get there!”

When I got there Craig had my tornado ready for me but he didn’t have any ice cream, he said that he already ate it.”

Months later he reveals he went diving in the couch cushions for enough change to buy me that ice cream and had to borrow money from his neighbor for gas to drive to Decorah 😂

We talked and talked and talked that night, even past my curfew. On the way home, I called him and asked if I could see him again and he said yes ❤️ I called my sister after that and told her that I found the man I was going to marry ❤️ Here we are now 7 years later and I still have the same order at the Whippy Dip

That’s what I know! Have a happy Monday guys!

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To school, or not to School, that is the Question

Remember I blogged about not knowing what to do with Carver for preschool? You can read that post here:

We’ve made the decision: Carver will be going to three year old preschool this fall.

This has been a long debated topic in our house and we’ve made this decision based on several reasons. I know a lot of parents are struggling with this right now so I thought maybe sharing our thoughts may help you collect yours.

Carver is really good about wearing a mask. He enjoys wearing it, picking it out, he keeps it on, he doesn’t complain too much about it. He’s got a great attitude about it and he knows it helps protect other people from getting sick. 

We are able to transport Carver to and from preschool so he doesn’t have to ride the bus. This was a request made by our school district to minimize the amount of kids on the bus so they can spread out and social distance. It also limits Carver’s exposure.

In yesterday’s blog post, (Linked below), I talked about the bonuses of my schedule and this is one of those bonuses – having a flexible work schedule. Craig works about a mile away from the school and doesn’t have to be at work until 8 most days anyway. 

If we delay Carver starting preschool, let’s say we wait until the second quarter to send him, everyone will already know everybody and know the routine and the schedule and when to wear masks and when not to wear masks and when to wash hands etc. I don’t want him to feel behind or confused if we delay his start date. 

Carver will be starting school in the middle of a pandemic. It’s not a terrible thing, Carver will have social distancing, hand hygiene, covering your cough and all of those germy etiquettes down to a tee in no time. 

We didn’t make this decision lightly, this was talked about for weeks and months and for a long time I didn’t think we would send him but Carver is SO ready and we are too. 

If you’ve chosen to make a different decision about sending  your kids to school, good for you. Honestly. What a hard decision to make. We’ve gone back and forth so many times as I’m sure you have to. 

On one hand, I know this may be a controversial blog post. On the other hand, I know this is the best choice for our family. 

There is one thing I want to make very clear though: I believe in the coronavirus. I’ve seen with my own two eyes what it is and what it does. I understand it is risky sending kids to school. This isn’t me just “getting over it” or saying “I’m not afraid of it,” this is me and my family trying to learn how to cope and adapt the best way we can.

Any haters will be deleted ✌🏻 I’ll do my family and you do yours! Thanks for reading friends!

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Commuting as a Nurse

I’m writing this post from my hotel room in between overnight shifts watching Untold Stories of the ER.

A lot of people have asked how I like commuting to my new job. A lot of people wonder why I drive so far to work. I thought I’d clear up those questions.

So we live in a really rural area. We have plenty of what we call “critical access hospitals” which are small town community hospitals with Med/surg, OB and ER that can manage most basic medical conditions, surgeries, etc. They stabilize the patient, diagnose and then decide if it is something we can handle or if we need to transfer out. We end up sending a lot of critical patients or traumas to larger hospitals.

In the super rural area I live in, most of the bigger hospitals we send patients to are a minimum of an hour and 15 minutes away. One we usually send to is Lacrosse, Wisconsin, we are about an hour and a half from St. Mary’s in Rochester MN. University of Iowa is about 2 hours away, and those are the major hospitals we transfer patients to, those are the level 1 and 2 trauma centers.

As far as driving to work, if I want “big hospital” experience I need to commute. If I want ICU or Critical care experience, I have to drive a minimum of an hour. So that’s what I chose to do!

Someday I may want to be a flight nurse. Most fight programs require a minimum of three years of ICU experience so where I currently work, about an hour and 20 minute drive, is the closest ICU. There’s another ICU at about an hour and 10 minutes away, but it isn’t as big and it isn’t at a teaching hospital.

It’s super common for people from our area, from the “boonies” to commute to work at Mayo or Lacrosse. Usually they stay in town and work a few shifts in a row. Also remember, I technically only work about 3 days or 12 hour shifts a week so I’m not driving 3 hours a day 5 days a week, just once or twice a week and then I usually stay in between two shifts.

I have a few tips/tricks/advice for those who are considering taking the leap from critical access hospital to gain more experience.

First of all, let me say I wish I would have made the transition a long time ago. The opportunities, the leadership, the environment is phenomenal.

Some people ask if I get paid much more going to a bigger hospital and I would say there isn’t a big difference. The benefits seem less expensive because naturally they have more staff so they get a better group rate.

I have been working on saving money when I do stay in town for a few days, I’ve gotten pretty creative packing my lunches and meals. The microwave in the hotel room is key. I’m all for microwaveable leftovers. It’s easy to just eat out and get delivery every day but that doesn’t save or make much money.

I actually love my commute. It’s my me time and I love listening to audiobooks, podcasts, catching up on calling my siblings, I don’t mind it at all. Even after working an overnight shift, I have yet to get tired on the drive home. When you’re busy all night, the “buzz” keeps you awake even longer – long enough to get home.

How about my family life? Well when I worked closer to home I didn’t see the boys much in between 12 hour shifts anyway so I would say there isn’t much of a difference there. Here’s an example of my work week:

Leave Sunday night at 5:30 pm
Work 7p to 7a
Sleep in town on Monday
Back to work on Monday night at 7p to 7a
Home on Tuesday morning
Usually I just sleep from about 9-12 on Tuesday after night shift, I relieve our babysitter and then me and the boys nap together on Tuesday afternoon.
Home Tuesday night
With my boys on Wednesday
With my boys on Thursday
Nap with the boys Thursday afternoon
Leave for work Thursday night at 5:30 pm
Work 7p to 7a on Thursday night
Home on Friday morning and home for the weekend!

When I work the weekend I have more time home with my kids during the week! I actually probably see my kids more than the average Monday – Friday 9-5 mom.

So that’s my work schedule guys! I’m always open for questions if you are considering taking the plunge!

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Spring Cleaning in August?

Let’s be real, I did NOT use my spare time when I was trapped at home because of the pandemic to catch up on Spring cleaning so now it is August cleaning!

I’ve been listening to an AWESOME audible book called Then She Was Gone. It’s kept me in a cleaning, organizing and pitching mood. Carver was too! We put on some Frozen music and tackled the toy room:

I was compelled to tackle the toy corner which was a dumping ground for the past few months. We got rid of a lot but most importantly, I’m boxing up and containing a lot of toys so that we only have certain activities out at one time. Otherwise the boys just dump and dump the toys out. We have so much storage, we should use it! So lots of organizing and sorting.

The toy corner is getting much cleaner – I’d eventually like to get rid of that shelf – maybe replace it with something a little cuter. I’d like to get a desk for the boys to sit at, it’s really just kind of a dead space in the house. It’s by our front door that we don’t typically use. So not sure quite what to do with it! Any suggestions?

I talked about a few other organizing hacks from my Target run in my last blog post, you can find it here:

But most importantly, I felt so compelled to even clean out my rug! Remember I blogged out refreshing my couch? Well my favorite living room rug needed some help too. Check out this before and after but also keep in mind that the “after” is still wet.

Here’s an even better picture of how well it cleaned up with my Bissel Carpet Cleaner:

Here’s my Amazon link if you are considering:

It’s like a new rug again! Look at how NASTY the water was! I just love my Bissel carpet cleaner. This rug was on it’s last leg. It was a Target find about a year ago. I was so sad when it was getting dingey, I figured I’d give this a try and I’m so happy with the results! It took about 30 minutes to clean the whole rug.

How satisfying to see all that dirt out of the carpet! I’ve got a cleaning but this week so you’ll probably hear about it more this week! Thanks for reading friends!

Here’s a link to that audible book I’m loving:

and here’s that link to my FAVORITE cleaning/organizing book that CHANGED MY LIFE!

and another book that I love from the same author that inspires me to do a little bit of housework everyday:

If you ever purchase any amazon products from MY link, I do get commission. If you buy, let’s just say, $150 worth of other stuff while you’re on Amazon by following my link, I also get commission on those things you purchase. It’s a way to support my blog and it is a way to score some great quality products. I just want to be honest with you guys. I would have raved about these products even if I didn’t make any money off of it.

Thanks for reading friends! See you again soon!

Check out my latest posts:

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Target Run and Bathroom Remodel Update!

I love getting my braces tightened. Yes, it hurts like a son of a gun but I get a little bit of me time at my favorite Target which is in Lacrosse. Nothing is better than Target in August, the back to school buzz is BOMB. I wanted to share some of my favorite Target finds!

We got our new bathroom vanity installed which on one hand, I’m REALLY excited about. On the other hand we have SO. FAR. TO. GO. and we are having such a hard time getting a plumber to come and install our new toilet, shower head, the sink, and bathtub. Our tiler is ready to go but he can’t do much without the plumbers. Back in April, this started out as a “quick and easy remodel.” HA! Yeah right! But the vanity looks BOMB! Check it out!

Obviously, not even close to done but there was a sneak peek. In the meantime, I’m so sick of having my bathroom items spread over three counties so I moved all of my makeup and necessities into the bathroom which was so fun. I got these drawer organizers for my makeup and I love them! Clear and classy – hard to see in the picture but it is organized, I promise.

I also got these crates for the behind the toilet cupboard which a lot of people recommended against, but I love. We have so many of this style of threshold crates/baskets throughout the house – our toy room, laundry room, now our bathroom. I’ll put washcloths in one crate and hand towels in the other.

Honestly, I have SO MUCH room left in this vanity. I’m so please with how efficient and organized it has made our tiny bathroom! We had our vanity built by Gossling Woodworking which is literally across the road from our house and the guys at Alpha Builders have been working hard to install them over the past few weeks!

I had another good find at Target, I’m all for investing in organization! I found this little tote to fit all of Carver’s markers and crayons in and organize his coloring books! It was a MESS. WE downsized and Carver and I sorted through ALL of his broken and dried out markers. We got rid of all them that didn’t fit in this container – one of my favorite organizing tips from Decluttering at the speed of life by Dana White: if your container can’t contain it, DOWNSIZE!

That’s my Tuesday guys! Check back tomorrow! IN the meantime, here are my latest posts:

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