The Rundown…

Good morning friends! Coverage on thepinkshoelaces has been pretty spotty this past week – we’ve been busy! Here’s a recap:

Two of my good friends from high school got married last weekend:

Me and Olivia – the bride
Kalissa – Olivia – Regan
Regan and her longtime boyfriend Garret
I was SO jazzed – Regan caught the bouquet! (hint hint Garret!)

We had a ton of fun – Craig ended up missing out on the reception because he was in the combine. Regan is always ready and willing to jump in as my wedding date! We still had a blast – I saw a ton of people from our class and we had a great time. It is so nice – the popular reception hall where many of my friends have their dance is about a block away from my house. I could cut through our backyard in the summer!

Olivia and I were great friends through school and Nic and Olivia were a part of our friend group through high school. They are such a sweet couple and I am so happy for them. Many of my classmates ended up marrying their high school sweet hearts which is so fun but has also made for a CRAZY busy wedding season.

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Olivia and I were in a band together in high school called “In the Making” 🙂 Olivia is on the far left, she played piano, Macey is in the middle and she played drums, I sang and played guitar. Macey also married her high school sweetheart and a classmate of ours last year!
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Here’s just one example of my friends from high school – everyone but me in this picture has gotten married in the past year
(Ashley will be married in June!) It has been so fun but so busy between weddings, showers, bachelorette parties etc.

Carver got to ride with Craig in the combine on Sunday – he rode for about 6 hours! He did great. Carver is OBSESSED with farming and combines and Craig loves having a buddy!

Feel free to follow Achen Farms on Facebook! I grew up on the home farm, Craig started working for Achen’s in August and my dad worked for Achen’s for 25+ years.

The final PUSH to finish harvesting was last weekend before we got snow. They did it – Craig got home very late on Tuesday night but they are DONE with getting the crops out of the field but that still leaves a lot of work and a lot of cleanup.

The snow did come on Wednesday morning – I worked overnight and caught a few pictures on my way home – if it wasn’t so slippery out it would have been really pretty!

It was such a pretty snowfall I couldn’t even be mad about it!

Gannon has been working on pulling himself up! He’s doing SO GOOD!

But he also has pink eye – courtesy of big brother Carver. We’ve been passing around colds and boogery eyes and runny noses all week. Don’t you just love when kids share? Tis the season!

Carver is OBSESSED with tools right now:

Everything is getting measured, all of his tractors get flipped over and fixed, AND he got a hand me down tool box from some family friends of ours – he was so excited he picked it up and carried it into the living room all by himself! See the video:

Last but not least – here’s a funny for you:

Carver is all about Christmas and the wisemen and the shephards and baby Jesus right now.

The other day he came out and was carrying some liquor bottles. I asked him what his intention was with them and he said “Me bring them to the wise man from baby Jesus!” HA!

I think he meant to say he was going to pretend he was a wiseman and BRING the empty bottle of Malibu and Southern Comfort to baby Jesus like Frankincense and Myrrh!

He wasn’t too happy to get his picture taken but I wanted to remember it 🙂

You’ll hear from me hopefully soon! I’m kind of straying from my Monday Wednesday Friday schedule for a bit to make sure I don’t burn myself out! Check back soon! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Remember this.

You’ve been searching for a moment like this.

The dots connected.

The answer was yours.

You said the right thing.

You made a difference.

You are enough.

In this moment it all feels worth it.


I know you’re busy.

I know you have a million things you need to be doing right now but STOP.

I want you to close your eyes and breathe in this moment.

Remember this.

Feel this feeling.

Breathe in. Breathe out.


This sweet moment will carry you through a thousand bitter ones.

When the cancer comes back.

When we made a mistake.

When we can’t find the heartbeat.

When we’ve done all we can do.

When you want to quit.

This profession will rip your heart right out of your chest and spit on it.

So remember this.

This sweet moment will carry you through a thousand bitter ones.

This is why we do what we do.

Take a second.

Close your eyes.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

And go help the next patient.


You guys, I’ve received some pretty incredible gifts in the past month or so and I want to share with you how kind people have been!

First of all, our sweet sweet neighbors mowed our yard and lawn swept all of the leaves and took them away! Whether they got tired of looking at our yard or were just being kind, thanks either way Mike and Janet! They have always been such sweet neighbors to us. Many times we came home from a long day at my parents when dad was in the midst of treatment and our lawn would be mowed or trees would be picked up.

Second of all, my mom and I got to meet Jean not to long ago. To brush up your memory, here is my mom’s blog post about Jean:

I just ADORED her necklace – It looks like a cross but when you turn it to the side it actually spells out faith.

A few weeks later, in my mailbox came a necklace just like Jean’s with such a sweet little note. She also included another chain for the necklace in case this one didn’t work! How thoughtful!

THANK YOU JEAN! That made my WHOLE week! 🙂

Another awesome thing, I mentioned in my blog post last week too was this rocking horse that showed up on my front porch! Carver LOVES riding his horse! We still haven’t found where it came from so PLEASE speak up if it was you! THANK YOU!

Finally, last week was my LAST day of clinicals with my students. I had SUCH an awesome group this semester. I always tell them on the first day: “I love orientation because I’m meeting 8 of my new friends today!” While we both respect professional boundaries, it is so true! I become their references, their friends, their mentor, long beyond their 128 hours of clinical time in their final semester before they become an RN!

This group was just so sweet. They got me a MASSAGE! I was so excited I booked one right away when I got the gift certificate! I got the massage today and it was truly wonderful. They told me that I don’t take enough “me” time and I make time for everyone else. They got me a few other “spa” day items and a bag of chocolates and a brand new CONTIGO water bottle: MY FAVORITE!

That got me thinking – Am I really doing anyone justice by working myself to death? My students are watching, my kids are watching, people are looking up to me and it is so obvious to them that I AM BURNT OUT and I’m not taking time for myself. That is NOT the example I want to set. That is NOT the message I want to teach my students. While the gift was so so appreciated, it also came with a lesson which is equally as valuable: you can’t pour from an empty cup.

So to my students (I know you guys are reading) I GOT my massage and it was FABULOUS! But thank you for reminding me about me. Thanks for slowing me down. So today I had a ME day. I got my massage, I got my haircut, I did some light housekeeping and had LOTS of cuddles!

Yes I was THAT excited about my massage!
I treated myself to IMPACT coffee!
and extra snuggles!

THANK YOU! To those mentioned in this post and THANK YOU to my readers! Check back again tomorrow around 5:30 am!

“Rate your pain on a scale of 0-10…”

Patients HATE this question. HATE IT. Usually I get a big eye roll when I ask this question.

But I LOVE this question. It tells me SO MUCH about you. I have a little speel that I can roll off of my tongue in my sleep:

“Can you rate your pain on a scale of 0-10. 0 is no pain 10 is the worst pain.”

Then the patient almost always responds:

“Well it isn’t really a pain but more of a discomfort.”

“Okay. Can you rate your discomfort on a scale of 0-10. 0 is no discomfort, 10 is the most uncomfortable feeling ever.”

And sometimes I get a rating then but then sometimes they say:

“Well it is more of a pressure than a discomfort.”

“Okay. Can you rate the pressure on a scale of 0-10? 0 is no pressure, 10 is the most pressure like an elephant is sitting on your chest.”

Sometimes I even ask this: “Can you rate your shortness of breath on a scale of 0-10? 0 is breathing easy and feeling great, 10 is you feel like you are going to die, suffocate or are drowning.”

I love LOVE the rating scale for several reasons:

  1. It tells me how much a concern this is for you. If you rate it a two or a three, that doesn’t seem all that concerning and I probably won’t need to intervene or advocate for orders. If you tell me the pressure on your chest is a 10/10, that really perks our ears up. That tells me we need to intervene right away. That tells me this is not something you can just brush off.
  2. I don’t feel what you feel. I don’t know what you can or cannot tolerate. This is the best way I can understand how your feel.
  3. Certain pains mean certain things. If you have a sudden onset, 10/10 headache, you’re likely getting a CT scan to rule out a stroke. If you have 10/10 unbearable tearing crushing abdominal pain/chest pain, you need a chest/abdominal CT scan ASAP because you could have a dissecting aortic aneurysm which is immediately life threatening. If you have this nagging uncomfortable feeling between your shoulder blades, I’m going to run an EKG to check your heart because it could be a heart attack. It tells us what tests we need to run and gives us an idea of what problems we are looking for.
  4. Combinations of pain means certain problems. If you are vomiting with your back pain, and it feels like your testicle is going to explode, we will go down the kidney stone route and need a urine sample.

I’ll leave you with this: Be HONEST about your pain. Give the best description you can. Write down your symptoms if this is a long term problem that you and your care team are investigating. Note everywhere you’re having pain even if it doesn’t seem significant.

Most importantly, don’t roll your eyes at the nurse and say “I hate that question!” every time we ask. Because of the reasons listed above but also because we are mandated by our credentialing agencies to ask and monitored on how well we control your pain.

Thanks guys! See you again tomorrow morning!

We got a “new to us” car! Read about our Toyota Highlander:

Well friends, I did something I didn’t want to do this week and that is to go into debt (if you’ve been keeping up with my financial Friday series you would understand) and buy a car. While I’m not happy I went further into debt, I’m excited to talk about my new Toyota Highlander.

My equinox has become increasingly unreliable. It is a 2013 and that particular year of Chevy equinox has been particularly problematic. After welding a flex pipe and new tires( $1,400), replacing the entire engine (for $3,700) in 2018, changing the oil constantly, I started having problems that it randomly wouldn’t start and needed a jump. I had taken it in and the mechanics couldn’t find anything wrong with it. The timing chain busted 5,000 miles after warranty. This is a lemon of a car and I am NOT the only one who thinks so.

Let me start off by saying that Winter has come WAY too early in Northeast Iowa. We’ve had about 2 weeks of snow on the ground, I have NOT been home to do a “winter transition.” I need to haul out the snow pants and boots and see what fits and what is in storage and find that matching glove etc. I still have to find Gannon’s car seat cover or transition him to a new rear facing car seat in general.

On Monday night, I had driven across town to my mom’s for supper and of course when we went to leave my car wouldn’t start with a 6 degree temperature. The boys were already in their car seats, not dressed that warmly, and my car wouldn’t start. It had just been a day. I was crying and brought the boys back into the house. Mom broke it to me and said, “Kalissa, you need to trade your car in. What if your car would have stalled and the boys were left wearing their fall jackets in the cold?”

I already knew that. I just didn’t want to admit it. (and gosh darnit I need to update to the winter clothes!) While I hated my equinox, we were SO CLOSE to paying it off. It was only a 2013 – why does it have SO MANY PROBLEMS! Karl and I spent about 45 minutes outside FREEZING trying to get it jumped.

What hurt the most is that Dad should have been there. He would have been able to start it. He would know what to do. In hindsight, I don’t think Dad knew much about cars but he was always there for me to offer advice and answer questions and he would ALWAYS test drive the car with me before I committed to buying it.

He has pulled me out of the ditch more than once. He has brought me gas before (whoops) and even though he wasn’t an expert, in my eyes he was the only opinion I’ve ever trusted when it comes to cars. And he’s gone now.

I started asking around. I googled “most reliable vehicle brands” and Toyota was #1. Dave Ramsey has always recommended Toyotas. I asked my nursing students what they had or what their parents have liked and one suggested a Toyota Highlander.

In Northeast Iowa there are a LOT of Chevy, GMC, and Ford vehicles. There aren’t a lot of foreign car dealerships. There aren’t a lot of foreign car mechanics either. Toyota isn’t a very popular brand but I knew it was a brand I could trust.

I had stopped in the ER to chat with the staff after clinicals one day. I knew at that point I was looking for a Toyota Highlander. Someone suggested to check out the dealership that my friend arianna_unsure (I’ve talked about her before – go follow her on Instagram and Spotify for podcasts) Anyway her boyfriend works at a dealership about an hour away.

I looked up the website and the first car that was on the website – 2013 Toyota Highlander with 103,000 miles – right in our price range!

I called and scheduled a test drive, called the bank and arranged the loan, Craig was able to come with because it snowed ALL DAY LONG and we bought the car the next day!

So I traded in the equinox. It didn’t bring much because they have such a bad reputation now.

Dad always said – NEVER buy a car without a full tank of gas – thank goodness they offered one before I had to ask or I may have teared up a bit. They threw in a free oil change, they gave us a gift certificate to go out and talk it over before we made the purchase, they offered us hot chocolate, all in all it was a wonderful experience and over with in ONE afternoon! Everyone was SO friendly and really seemed as they enjoyed their jobs! Who could ask for more?

The third row seats are hidden under the floor mats.
We won’t use them often so we get ALL the trunk space!!

So far I love it. The engine is a V6 compared to my 3.6L in my equinox – I can FEEL the difference. AND it has 4 wheel drive for the winter weather and my 32 minute commute! It had seat warmers, third row seating, and most importantly it is reliable and gets great gas mileage!

Here’s a trip down memory lane for you:

My ’87 Buick LeSabre. I loved this car. I loved it so incredibly much. I drove it back and forth to the nursing home and CNA class and all over NEIA with my friends (mostly to WalMart because we had nothing better to do) the entire summer after I turned 16 until the summer before senior year. I bought “Betty” from my brother Karl for $200. These pictures were on the last day of my sophomore year I think? I hit my first deer in this car. I put it in the ditch on the first icy day I had ever driven. I was about 400 feet out of the driveway. I called dad to come help me. He walked down to where I put it in the ditch, got in it, and drove it through the ditches to the farm. I am dying laughing thinking of that story while I’m writing it. I was so mad he made me walk.

Here’s a picture of me and my brother Karl. We wanted a last day of school picture with Dad! HAHA! See him driving the tractor and doing chores in the background? Perfectly timed photo mom!

Here is my 2000 Lincoln town car – I also loved this car! It had key less entry, leather seats, it was a beast! I bought it the summer before senior year. It was rear wheel drive which was SO inconvenient in the winter. It had a pink fuzzy steering wheel cover that Craig HATED! I bought it with only 60,000 miles on it and I finally let it go at 138,000 miles after the rear axel broke AGAIN about a month before I got pregnant with Carver! (2012 – 2016) I ditched this car on the way to clinicals (it was so snowy, they should have been cancelled) and mom and dad came to save me. This picture was taken the first day of my senior year – same scene in the background! and yes those are GIANT feather earrings in my hair!

And then the dreaded equinox *eye roll*

And now – the highlander:

I’m optimistic. I think it was a good choice for our family. I’ve heard Toyotas last a very long time and can have crazy high mileage and still run like a champ! And we can have that third baby without having to move up in vehicle (not that it is anywhere on our radar at the moment) BUT we can grow into it!

My first car buying experience without my Dad brought back so many memories and things he has taught me. Now it is Craig and I. It’s different now. We will get used to it. Another “first” that I didn’t think would effect me this much.

Do you guys have a Toyota? Have you had trouble with your eqinox? What was the first car you bought?

See you tomorrow at 5:30 am! Thanks for reading friends!


Welcome back to my Financial Friday series! Buckle up! Here comes week #2! If you missed the first post, you can check that out here:

Today I want to talk about how budgeting changed our financial game.

Budget. What a dirty word. Who else cringes when they think about actually doing a written, well thought out, planned well in advance budget?

I’ll start off by telling you how I used to budget and plan for expenses:

I would spend all of my money, then fill in a spreadsheet at the end of the month with what I spent, and wonder where it all went and why I was overdrawn.

I was SO confused by people who would fill out a budget BEFORE the month begins. How do you know how much money you’re going to make? How do you know how much stuff is going to cost?

I was an over spender – the first month we made a budget we had spent well over $500 in eating out. I’m not even kidding you guys.

Craig would spend $300 – $400 a month on food, chew, cigarettes, energy drinks, more food, tools, etc.

I would buy groceries on a credit card and joke to Craig, “Ha! It is credit card week until payday!”

I would put all clothes on a store credit card, we financed a couch, if we couldn’t afford it, onto the Citi card or Discover card.

An overdraft fee was a monthly expense for us. It was bad. If I wanted it, I got it.

Adults carefully devise a plan and follow it. Children do what feels good. One definition of maturity is learning to delay pleasure. The Bible says it this way: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but it yields a harvest of righteousness.”

– Dave Ramsey

Let me introduce you to my favorite budgeting tool: EveryDollar

So right away when we jumped into Dave Ramsey’s plan I bought the app EveryDollar – I had tried SO many budgeting apps but none were keeping my budget in line. EveryDollar was a game changer. It also came with Dave’s online course/program Financial Peace University for a total of $129.99 per year.

You guys. That’s a big price tag but it is an INVESTMENT. I’m telling you right now, it has made us 10x that amount of money by finding an app that links to my bank and KEEPS ME ON TRACK!

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If you’re not ready to fork over the money, my mom uses a free version of EveryDollar – the only bummer is that it doesn’t hook to your bank account unless you pay.

Craig also has the app downloaded on his phone and at any time can check our budget as well which involves him in our finances which was new for us! I used to do it all!

I have coworkers who have also enjoyed Mint – a budgeting app as well as writing out a zero based budget on pen and paper. No matter how broke you are, you can afford a budget.

Here is a tour of EveryDollar and you can actually test out your budget for free! There is also an info graphic on zero based budgeting. Here is a link:

If you have an irregular income (like Craig and I do!) you have no excuse. You. Still. Need. A. BUDGET! If we can do it, so can you! Here on page four you can find the “tips for irregular income” work sheet:

I’m going to let you look into that and decide what kind of budget works best for you. In the meantime, I’m going to tell you…

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  1. I know how much money I have This may seem obvious but when an unexpected expense pops up, I know exactly if we will be able to cushion it and where we can adjust in our budget!
  2. I feel like I got a raise! This is a very common feeling after sitting down and dividing the money into appropriate categories. If you finally can pin down exactly where your money is going, you can direct the right way! You’ll find money you didn’t even know was coming in.
  3. I know what I can and cannot afford. If everyone is ordering out at work, I know exactly how much money I have budgeted for restaurants that month and if I have any left. Let’s say I don’t have any left but I can take $10 from my monthly fun money if I still want to eat out! If the money isn’t there, I DON’T SPEND IT!
  4. I have permission to spend! Likewise, I don’t have to feel guilty hitting up my favorite meat locker because I have money designated specifically for groceries! I can afford it! If Craig needs new boots next month, I enter a category for Craig’s boots! If I want to go shopping, if it is in the budget and is balanced, I can spend it!
  5. I get better at it every month! I’m telling you it really takes at least 90 days to get good at budgeting. STICK IT OUT! It is a breeze now and I don’t know how I lived without one!

Thanks for reading! You can enter the Total Money Makeover book giveaway on every financial Friday post (every Friday until Christmas). My order isn’t in yet so I will announce 2 winners NEXT FRIDAY! To enter leave a comment with something you’ve learned or implemented in your life because of my blog and SINCERELY recommend my blog or Facebook page to a friend!

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While I would love to post an affiliate link and make money off of the sales, Dave’s website has a $10 sale right now! ALL OF HIS BOOKS ARE ONLY $10!! For real – it is a better deal, here is the link – it doesn’t get cheaper than this!

Thanks guys! See you on Monday! I’m off to work the weekend!!