Nothing too exciting going on over here, just living life!
Craig wrapped up field work late last week – FINALLY! That doesn’t mean we get him back home as much as we used to, he’s still got spraying and rock picking and side dressing and hay cutting if it dries up enough. We did go on an adventure on Sunday, you can read about that here. It was a good “recharge” for our family!
I don’t have a ton of really interesting or monumental stuff to share about. Carver stole my phone and took some selfies, I tried to recreate pepperoni cheese buns and used way too much vegetable oil in the dough and they didn’t turn out, and there’s Gannon “fixing my tires.”
I’ve been getting some baby clothes back from my sisters now that I know I’m having a boy. I’ve washed and sorted through the newborn – 3 month clothes. I came across this sleeper and Gannon wore this sleeper ALL THE TIME – I have so many pictures of him wearing it! It was even his “going home” outfit from the hospital when he was 4 days old, AND when he was going home from the hospital after he was hospitalized at 6 weeks old.
I showed it to Gannon and showed him the pictures, he was so excited and showed it to Carver. Gannon talks a lot about when he was a baby and had to go to the doctor, he brings it up and asks to see pictures. I don’t think he remembers it much although he was almost 2 when he got his last botox injection but for often he talks about it, you’d think he remembers it. He tells me he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. Gannon is now FULLY potty trained, something we were worried wouldn’t be possible when he was little. I can’t even remember now the last time he had an accident.
Carver is heavy into baseball/little league season. He LOVES playing baseball, he loves being a part of a team, and he’s been doing so well. He’s the youngest on the team. They have a boys and girls team in our home town. They needed more players so they asked some kids going into kindergarten (Carver) to join. Then the girls team is short a few players so Carver plays on the boys team and the girls team! It makes for a really tired little boy! Here he is after his first game:
Gannon LOVES going to Carver’s games too. Georgia and the babies and Auntie Kelli came to his first game and here are Gannon and Georgia playing peek a boo!
So that’s us! Just living life! Thanks for checking in!
I’ve had something on my bucket list for awhile now and I’m glad to say we crossed it off last weekend!
Craig had Sunday off and was itching to get out of the house. It was a beautiful day and I have been wanting to go to Spook Cave for a long time now! There are two caves local to our house. One I went to when I was in high school with my family called Niagara Cave, it’s a cave you can walk through. The other cave is called Spook Cave and that’s a boat tour through a cave. Both are about an hour from our house.
We decided to head towards the river, (the Mississippi river that is) and go to Spook Cave. We got there early in the morning and we hopped on one of the first tours of the day. I didn’t get many pictures from the tour, it was very dark and I didn’t want to risk losing my phone in the water. If you’re claustrophobic this probably isn’t the best tour for you. There were a lot of spots we had to duck down or crouch in the boat to get through some pretty narrow openings. Carver and Gannon had so much fun on the tour, especially Carver who is a Minecraft junkie. Their commentary had us cracking up the whole time.
The tour guide asked us where we were all from, the adults responded and then Gannon says, “How to come you are where from?” It was his baby yoda way of asking the tour guide where they were from. It was adorable.
They had little jokes planted through the cave, they had what the tour guide referred to as a “lizard” skeleton perched on the shore when Carver piped up, “That’s actually a Dilophosaurus.” He correctly identified the dinosaur skeleton and was confident enough to correct the tour guide.
Then it was time to go sifting through sand to find some minerals! The boys LOVED this part! They used the sifters and got some minerals – here they are identifying their finds. Carver found some “real life” minerals that he had heard of on Minecraft – he couldn’t believe he saw them in real life!
They’ve got a beautiful campground, gift store, playground, and a few waterfalls too. If I was a camper, I’d want to camp there.
We headed to eat next, my bestie Regan and her family spend a ton of time at the river in Prarie Du Chein, WI which is just over the border. She had some good recommendations for some fun and some good food. We decided on a restaurant we could sit outside at and watch the boats go in and out of the Marina. The weather was just beautiful.
Regan also recommended Prarie Fun Land – they had bouncy houses and go-kart racing. Would 10/10 recommend a few go kart races, they had family karts so I took Gannon and Craig took Carver. That was the highlight of their day. They spent a good 45 minutes in the bouncy house too.
The boys loved going over the Mississippi river and seeing the barges and a great time was had by all. We stopped at the Effigy mounds, an Indian burial ground, on the way out of town but I was pooped and Carver fell in the weeds so that cut our visit short. If I was in a hiking mood we would have stayed a little longer. Pikes Peak is also a really cool area to visit if you’re in town.
Overall, we had a great Sunday, everyone got a good nap in, we were home in time to get to a graduation party and tidy up the house.
I was listening to the Dave Ramsey Show the other day and he said something that really struck me:
“What if when you’re starting out, it just looks like you’re starting out.”
Woah, now that stopped me in my tracks. I’ve spent the first 7 years of adulthood trying to live life like I was in my thirties. While I have no regrets and I’m happy where I am, I wonder how different my life would be if when I was starting out, it just looked like I was starting out.
I think back to the Summer after I turned 18 when I met my husband Craig. On our second date, we had mutually agreed that this was it for us, we had found the one. We moved in together three months later. We rented a house together 6 months into our relationship. We got a dog. We scrambled enough money together to get an engagement ring. You would have thought something was chasing us for how quickly we were moving.
I couldn’t place my finger on it, but I felt such an urgency. I had finally gotten a boyfriend, I’ll admit I spent most of my high school years longing for young men who would never be able to reciprocate the feelings. Once I met Craig, we hit the ground running.
If I could sit down and have lunch with my 18 year old self, I would ask: “What if when you’re starting out, it just looks like you’re starting out.” What would happen if you slow down? Why are you rushing things? What are you trying to prove? Who are you trying to beat? If you really think he’s the one, he’s not going anywhere. Slow down, you’re doing fine.
When we bought our first home, I was not enthusiastic about our choice. It certainly needed some cosmetic updates, I hated the small and narrow galley kitchen, I really felt like we settled because it was one of the only houses that had been for sale in our small town for years. The counters were an ugly lime green, the living room and dining room were a dark maroon. The shag orange carpet upstairs had to be much older than me.
I spent so much time hating my home. I would scour the internet for homes for sale, we attempted and failed so many home projects. We were forced to put our money into a new roof, a new furnace, and a new water heater instead of completing the cosmetic updates on my honey do list.
I wish I could sit down with my 21 year old self, I would ask: “What if when you’re starting out, it just looks like you’re starting out?” What if your starter home looks like a starter home? What if one day you’ll look back and laugh at the counter tops you painted (that are still holding strong by the way)? What if the home you bring your first born to isn’t a mansion or even that nice of a house? Slow down, you’re doing fine.
As a new nursing grad, the pressure I felt to not only be a good nurse, but the best nurse was crushing. I was constantly worried if others thought I was meeting their standards. Was I thorough enough with my assessments? Did I pick up enough shifts? Did I prove myself yet? Was I the best new grad they had ever hired?
I was about three years into my nursing career when I was certain I knew all there was to know and I had “earned” myself a leadership role at the hospital. I was determined to climb the nursing ladder and land a management position, after all I had three whole years of experience under my belt. When I didn’t get the job, I was crushed. “I guess I’m just destined to be a regular old staff nurse,” I told myself. I know! I’ll go back to school! I’ll out-educate myself so I’ll be the youngest, the best and the brightest!
I wish I could sit down with my 23 year old self, I would ask: “What if when you’re starting out, it just looks like you’re starting out?” What if you have to pay your dues? What if when you’re a new grad, you ask questions that a new grad would ask? What if you were just new at something for awhile? What if you didn’t work so hard to fast forward your career? What if to gain experience, you actually had to gain the experience? Slow down, you’re doing fine.
So many times in my life I’ve found myself racing to an imaginary finish line I’ve set for myself. I never embraced the new, the awkward, the growth, the setbacks, the value of earning something you’ve worked so hard for. I want to skip the novice, the beginner, the proficient and race right to the expert on the Dreyfus model for no reason other than to say I got there first.
With that, I’ll close this post with a few lyrics that I wish I would have taken to heart years ago.
Slow down you crazy child You’re so ambitious for a juvenile But then if you’re so smart tell me, Why are you still so afraid?
Slow down you’re doing fine You can’t be everything you want to be before your time
Too bad, but it’s the life you lead You’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need Though you can see when you’re wrong You know you can’t always see when you’re right
Slow down you crazy child Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while It’s alright, you can afford to lose a day or two
And you know that when the truth is told That you can get what you want or you can just get old You’re gonna kick off before you even get halfway through
My 5 year old son, Carver, has been begging for months for a Nerf gun. Today is no different. He even brought it up to my Mom, “I’m more of a Nerf gun guy, not a real gun guy because I don’t want to hurt anyone.” He comes home from school with talks of birthday parties, he says his best friend promised to buy him a Nerf gun for his birthday.
We aren’t much of a gun family. Craig has a gun, he’s had it since high school. Craig used to work in sporting goods in high school at Mills Fleet Farm. He loved selling guns but only ever had one. It’s broken apart in three separate pieces and even stored in different locations around the house so there’s no chance of the boys accidentally finding it. He’s shot it once with my brothers the entire time we’ve been together. Craig went hunting one year but didn’t get anything.
I was on the trapshooting team in high school. I wasn’t any good and I never shot my own gun, I always borrowed from someone. I’ve shot trap with my brothers who have grown to be gun enthusiasts. I was even pretty young the first time I shot a gun. Craig and I have taken hunters safety classes. It’s not like we weren’t around guns when we were younger, but we just aren’t a gun family.
This doesn’t stop Carver from longing for a Nerf gun. It’s been a hard no from me for several years now. Honestly, we don’t even have squirt guns. Something just doesn’t sit right with me about handing a kid a toy gun until they can understand the weight of a real gun.
The weight of a gun in our country is heavy. The weight of a gun carries thousands of mass shootings that seem more and more common every day. When I first thought of writing this post, I was mulling over the shooting that happened in Buffalo, New York. By the time I had collected my thoughts, there was another shooting in Uvalde, Texas. As I sat down to type this, there’s a shooting in a hospital in Tulsa, OK.
I can hear the comments now, “Now Kalissa, giving your kid a toy gun isn’t like giving them a real gun.” You’re right, but I wonder how old Salvador Rolando Ramos was when he was first given a toy gun. After all, he was only 18 when he murdered nineteen students and two teachers last week. He was hardly an adult himself. Did he have to sit through hunter’s safety class? Did his Mom and Dad take him to the gun range and teach him to shoot? Did he get a Nerf gun for Christmas?
“Well now Kalissa, just because you give your kid a toy gun doesn’t mean they’ll become a mass murderer.” When Payton Gendron’s parents let him play with his first gun, do you think they intended for him, at 18 years old to enter a supermarket and murder 13 black people? Do you think his parents, knowing what they now know, would have ever handed over the toy gun in the first place?
“It’s just a toy!” Tamir Rice was 12 years old when he was shot by police for playing with a toy gun in Cleveland, Ohio. He was pointing what was reported to dispatch as a “pistol” at random people in a park when someone called 911. He certainly didn’t understand the weight a gun can carry, especially when the color of your skin makes you 3.23 times more likely to be shot by police according to a study released by researchers at Harvard. How can my son understand the privilege’s he holds because of the color of his skin? How can he understand that even being under suspicion for having a gun could get you killed?
“My kids played with guns and turned out just fine.“ The Columbine High School Massacre was not the first school shooting in our country, but laid the blueprint for many school shootings to come. I was 4 years old in 1999. I can vividly remember watching shooting after shooting play out on the Today show while I ate my breakfast before I went to school in the morning. I’ve never not had to practice an active shooter drill. I would worry about what would happen if I was in the bathroom during a lockdown. I’m a part of what is being called the “Columbine Generation,” I’ve never known a world without school shootings. Things have changed, things are continuing to change. What used to be acceptable child’s play is now an introduction to a world of gun violence.
“As long as they are taught how to use it safely, there isn’t arisk.“ Tell that to my best friend who lost her cousin to suicide. Tell that to the family of a young man in our community who lost his life in an accidental shooting while surrounded by his friends. What about the 4 year old from our own school district was unsupervised when he fatally shot himself in the head. These aren’t just statistics about some far away land, these are people in my community. Iowa ranked 20th in 2016 in accidental shootings involving children.
As a grown woman, I can’t even process the weight a gun bears in our country, why would I be in a rush to lay that burden on my 5 year old?
In conclusion, it’s just a Nerf gun. It’s just a super soaker. Yet, with every mass shooting, with every accidental shooting, with every hate crime, with every man or woman who takes their own life, with every officer involved shooting, with every young man or woman who lays down their life for our country, the weight of guns, whether they are plastic or shoot water, or shoot ammunition, becomes heavier and heavier.
For a mother to take pause before handing that weight over to her child, isn’t an overreaction. It’s the only way I know how to protect him in a world where going to school, going to work, going to the supermarket, or even a 12 year old boy, playing with a toy gun in a public park isn’t safe anymore.
And I’m back to a long work stretch. I have much less control over my schedule as a travel nurse which is pretty common. It’s the first time I’ve worked on a “block schedule” which is the same pattern of shifts over and over again. If I march out my schedule, I can guess what I’ll be working all the way to my maternity leave. It’s neither good or bad, it just is. I end up working a lot of shifts in a row, something I’m not used to, but then I’ll have 8 days/7 nights off every three weeks so there’s a trade off.
I’m used to self scheduling, I’ve had it at my last 3 nursing jobs and definitely prefer it. I would rather work 2 nights in a row and then a random night later in the week. I work more consistently and I don’t get a chunk of time off but it doesn’t burn me out as bad.
For example I’ll work Friday Saturday Sunday, (off Monday) back to work Tuesday Wednesday Thursday (off Friday Saturday Sunday) then work Monday Tuesday Wednesday but then comes my big chunk of time off. That stretch is a challenge but again, I don’t love it or dislike it, it just is! Plus, that’s part of being a traveler so I knew what I was getting into.
I spent some of my time off not feeling very well, the boys both had colds two weeks ago and gave them all to the adults. The boys bounced back pretty quick but myself, Craig and I cannot quite kick this cold! We did test negative for COVID by the way but it is just lingering! I’m on day 8 and still have a very drippy nose/cough. It also triggered my herpes keratitis, yes you read that right. It is a herpes infection I get in my EYE – not the same as the STD. Just like some people get cold sores in their mouth/lips, I get mine in my left eye when my immune system is down. This is the third outbreak I’ve had so I got it very early and got into the eye doctor.
On Thursday, I took some time to myself. I sent the boys to the babysitters, I drove to a town further away and tried out a new coffee shop and boutique I’ve been following for awhile. 10/10 recommend both! I got 2 new purses, a teeny outfit for the new babe, and some delicious lemon blueberry scones! I will definitely be going out of my way to stop again! Then I had lunch with two of my good friends/former co workers! It was wonderful!
I had a very sad realization the other day, then I convinced myself I shouldn’t be sad about it, then I saw another mom also post about it and I thought, darn it! I am sad about it! Gannon and I had our last official day together on Carver’s last day of school. He’s been my sidekick and napping buddy for the past 2 years every day while Carver is in school. It’s very bittersweet to be sending him off to preschool, the days of just mommy and Gannon have come to an end. While we still have all Summer together with Gannon and Carver, it’s just not the same as that precious 1:1 time I’ve had with my little man. I’ll have about a month of days by myself while both boys are at school before baby boy #3 comes this fall. Then I’ll have uninterrupted bonding time with the newest little! Gannon will still be home with us on Wednesdays which will be a treat!