Meg Joins the Navy

A new member of the Navy Nurse Corps and a proud wife of a Navy corpsman stationed together at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

31 December 2011

2011 in Pictures

 A look back on the past year's big events!

All my friends turning 21...
And all the 21st celebrations!

Two best friends finally owning up to our feelings & falling in love


Relay for Life, Pop star team!  Dressed up as Katy Perry

My sailor starting his Navy career, finishing basic training, corps school, and field med, now with a Marine division in Lejeune, NC

Getting my nurse on & helping to delivering a few babies!

Olive Garden nights with all my best friends from high school

Sleepovers in the summer

College football & tailgating

Signing on with the Navy Nurse Corps

Spending time with my sailor on an adventure when he's home

Navy football game

The winter Olive Garden reunion! Check out my friend's blog here

Christmas with my sailor and our families!
Can't wait for tonight to ring in the New Year with the love of my life and share our first kiss of 2012!

I know this coming year has a lot in store for us... my graduation, his deployment, the start of my Navy career, lots of adventures, and whatever God decides to test us with.  Looking back on last year's New Year's Eve (a quiet night at home with my mom after a movie out), I've come a long way & can't wait to get started!

My New Year's Resolution for 2012:  Reduce gossiping from me and others, try to give people the best end of doubts, live more in the moment, and become closer with family and friends.

26 December 2011

My Christmas with my Sailor & Our Families

Well I feel redundant blogging about my Christmas, as it seems everyone has or has been since Thanksgiving, but it just happened to be one of the best Christmases ever, although a change from the usual because one cousin is in Finland as a foreign exchange student, another in California, and my brother in Florida... so here I am blogging at my grandmother's house because I am the lonely grandchild on my mother's side with no young adults to bitch about the elders with.  The dogs are my only two allies!

My Christmas started early, on the 19th at an hour before midnight of the 20th when my sailor finally made it home after a 7-hour trip from North Carolina.  Luckily, we were both exhausted and fell asleep talking or we would have been up all night chatting.  My gift to Eric the next day for Christmas was lunch out in downtown Westminster, MD and a couple's hour long massage!  He deserved it after almost a year since starting at boot camp.  We were on beds next to each other and I had as much enjoyment watching him enjoy it as I did with my own massage.  He never sits still, always touching things or moving his hands, even when he's sleeping he'll be rubbing my back.  With his massage, he was perfectly still.  He could have been a corpse laying there; I had to check to make sure he kept breathing.

My present from my sailor :)



We had some great days hanging out before all the Christmas festivities began.  On Christmas Eve, I spent time with him and his family at Mommom's and Papa's.  It was our first time meeting the whole extended family, you know... cousins from Chicago and Florida and all that.  It was a lot of fun though!  As far as meeting large quantities of families go, they were the best.

On Christmas Eve, my sailor also took a very big step and was baptized.  I am so proud of him!  It's one thing to be baptized as a little baby when your parents decide for you, but to choose to as an adult really shows your commitment to God and the belief.

My sailor and me before his baptism
 After spending the day with his family, my family took the 3.5 hour drive to Indiana, PA to be with our family for the week.  Christmas morning was great.  We skyped with my cousin in Finland for a while and spent the day with each other... eating, drinking, and laughing.

After another day, my sailor will be making his way up here as well to meet my extended family and I can't wait to take him around the town showing him the church where many members of my family have been married, my daddy's grave, and meeting those who have never met a single man of mine because it's been saved for the very best!


13 December 2011

Make Your Own Apron!

My first attempt at making an apron ended very well, especially for just winging it and not using a pattern.

My nursing school saviors, Kim & Ashley!

This is how it worked:

I got a basic cotton fabric, which happened to be wide enough that I could fold it "hotdog style" so that I had an apron with the pattern on each side.  I folded it inside out (patterned sides together) so that I could mark and cut the diagonal edge.  I did this by folding the fabric "hotdog style" again so that both edges met so that the cut was symmetrical.  Think of it as the first fold creates a single piece of fabric that would be double printed.  The second fold is to line up the opposite edges of the fabric to make a symmetrical cut edge.
I pinned and sewed around the sides and top edge, pattern sides still together.  Then turned it right side out (pattern sides facing) and sewed along the bottom edge, which I folded under, making a cuff.  You can decide the length of your own apron at this point.

I then sewed with a contrast color thread around all the edges of the apron for decoration and extra hold.

Next up was the front pocket.  I purchased the pre-cut fabric squares, folding it in half "hotdog style" (pattern facing you) so that the pattern would appear on the inside and out of the pocket.  I rolled the bottom and side edges and pinned in the center of the apron (The top edge was where the fabric was folded over).  I sewed the edges and then down the center of the pocket to make it into 2 pockets.



Last was the ties.  I used ribbon that you can buy by the spool (without wire).  For the tie around the waist, you use about a yard for each side and fold over the end and sew onto the back of the apron.  You want to make sure to backstich over it so that it has a strong hold.  I then used a lighter to melt the end of the ribbon so that it would not fray.


The top ribbon was sewn on one side like as before.  On the opposite side I sewed on a button on the back of the apron and made 3 button holes in the ribbon so that the size could be adjustable. I used a lighter again to melt the edges so that it would not fray.  Be careful when using the lighter because it was quickly burn the ribbon and turn brown or black and shrivel up.  If you use it lightly it will simply melt the ribbon and create a plastic-y glue that holds well.

I then used the ribbon on the aprons themselves to wrap them up!



Scrabble Ornaments

My craft this Christmas was to make a cute gift for my sailor's mom and grandma that was inexpensive, cute, and I knew they would like.  They are big Scrabble fans so I hope they enjoy the new ornaments I've made.

How to make Scrabble ornaments:

1.  Make as many words as you can with the letters.  You can buy the letters separately from the board game, but I didn't have time to run around looking and bought the whole game, which was less than $10 at Walmart ($16 at ToysRUs) and after all the ornaments I made they all came to less than $1.


2.  Decide if you want the letters to be horizontal or vertical.


3.  Hot glue each letter in place.  I used the letter stands that come with the game for some and tongue depressors for the rest.  The hot glue worked really well holding the letters.



4.  Cut the ribbon and tie a double knot at each end for ornaments as shown above, or tie each end together for the ornament at the bottom of the page.


5.  Hot glue the ribbon in place by placing the knot directly onto the glue spot.


These are fun because you can do them with a lot more than ornaments!  You can make coasters by gluing the letters onto cut corkboard, make a nametag, name place tags, on picture frames, or take pictures of the letters in different arrangements and use as a place setting, front of a greeting card, or anything you could think of!  I know they're going to start appearing everywhere I am.


Laser Hair Removal?

Some people may be hesitant to get hair laser-ly removed, nope. Not me.  It has been the best investment of my life and I am not ashamed to tell anyone how amazing it has worked!

First off, my dad had black hair over his entire arms, chest, and back... his nickname was "Furry Murray" and inheriting the dark hair genes from him, I ended up with the female version.  It is way more common than women think for females to have stray hairs around their nipples and chest.  In high school I was really self-conscious of this and either shaved or plucked them.  (Plucking is not fun in that area.)  So my primary physician recommended laser hair removal, and I got it done... AMAZING results.  So then in college, I used extra loan money after buying my books to get my upper lip done.  AMAZING results.

Things to know about laser hair removal:

1.  It takes more than one treatment.  The hairs are in different stages of growth and you have to get them all. I had I believe 3 or 4 for my upper lip and about 8 for my chest area.
2.  It works best for dark, thicker hairs.  The fine, blonde hairs are hard to target and don't take up all the rays because there is less pigment.
3.  The process is short.  It took me probably 10 to 15 minutes in the room for treatment.  I spent more time driving there.
4.  The strength of the laser gets stronger as you have more treatments for a particular area to get the more persistent hairs.
5.  After being treated, you only have to apply aloe vera to the area because it feels like a slight sunburn, which goes away after less than an hour.  You are slightly red after, but that too goes away within an hour.

It was definitely worth the money and I will start saving up soon for my next adventure, the underarms.  Not a fan of shaving and occassionally having the itchy feeling afterwards.

I got my laser hair removal done in Gettysburg, PA.  Pricing is really reasonable and I would recommend it to anyone!  Follow this address for their information:  http://www.masondixonlaser.com/about.htm


12 December 2011

Sailor's New Station

My sailor has finally gotten out of student status and is getting set up this week in Camp Lejeune, NC!  He seems pretty excited to finally be starting to work as a corpsman with his new division.  Lots still to learn right now about this new chapter so taking everything as it comes and any information about this base/getting used to a permanent active duty station and how it's different is welcomed! PLEASE! 

Just some background on my sailor's Navy journey...

His original contract going into boot camp was for the SEALs but that changed once he found out, he was actually slightly colorblind and SEALs must be ungodly physically perfect to withstand it all so he needed a new contract, which started his hospital corpsman path.  After boot camp, he went to corps school in Chicago, where he was able to join the Fleet Marine Force, which is why he is a Navy sailor stationed on a Marine base.  As anyone familiar with these two branches would know, the Navy's medical staff takes care of the Marines because they do not have a medical branch of their own.

My sailor's original orders at FMF school was to head over to Japan for his 1st active duty station, but qualified for Marine Recon training and headed over there for training.  However, he only learned to swim a little over a year ago, so didn't quite make it through that because it's kind of like the Marine's version of SEAL training in my mind... absolutely mentally and physically draining and it killed me to talk to him at night and he sounded so worn out both ways so when he decided it wasn't for him I was very relieved because he perked up right way.

That leaves us where he is right now, on his first day as an HM3 at Camp Lejeune! Although his Navy journey is completely different from the many turns it has taken, each one has had better circumstances than the last and I thank God for the path He has given us and the obstacles He has brought us through and the strength we have been given during it all.

I had a great 48 hours with him this week while he stopped home to pick up his car and drive down to NC.  I celebrated my 22nd birthday this week and it was the best gift I could have had!  And he surprised me in the middle of the night by getting me flowers, and my mom! (which made her cry.)  Best boyfriend ever <3



05 December 2011

12 Hours till 48 with My Sailor!

Instead of a 12 day countdown, I am now down to 12 hours!  My sailor has officially receieved his orders to be transferred to Lejeune, NC Marine base and had his flight re-directed to home from Pendleton, CA so that he could come home and get his car to drive down and have it on base.  WHICH MEANS.... that I get to see him for 48+/- hours starting tomorrow morning when he lands at BWI and I get to run into his arms and get that glorious hug all for myself!

It's times like these, with the good surprises like this that the bad surprises in the military don't seem so bad (although, I think we can all agree the bad surprises usually outnumber the good).  This visit comes at a great time because I just e-mailed my final project of the semester to my professor, which leaves 2 finals left, which are both next week so I can take the next 48 hours and spend them not stressing yet and soak up everything.  It also comes at a good time, after 2 weeks of Angry Megan from stress, missing my sailor, Christmas stress, and being annoyed at the world, and basically in one of those moods that you just need a good cry and the JIF peanut butter commercial brings it on.  I'm talking about this one:


It gets me every time. haha

Today I also got my birthday present early!  It wasn't supposed to be delivered until Friday but I got some pretty flowers in the mail from my sailor :)


03 December 2011

Pennsylvania Christmas Trees

One of the most glorious things about a good ole country Christmas is the exciting day when we get to hike out to the Christmas Tree Farm and walk around acres of trees, looking for the perfectly trimmed, fat, and perfect height tree in the whole farm.  Today was a perfect day, not rainy, muddy, extremely cold, or windy, a sunny 45 degrees!  For those of you who have lived in big cities all your life, yes, this still happens.



 I'm proud to say that Pennsylvania is home to the WORLD'S CHRISTMAS TREE CAPITOL! of Indiana, Pa, outside of Pittsburgh, where I'm proud to say my family is from.
 After you cut it down, you get to drag it back to the car and strap it to the hood and drive all the way home, wondering if it's going to fall off!
Luckily, we always make it.  This year with my brother gone, it was my chance to drill the hole in the bottom to get into the tree stand, usually a 1 hour job for my brother, took me 15 minutes.  Clearly, women work well with power tools!  I have some great branches to craft with too that came off the bottom.

And that's how Pennsylvanians go Christmas tree shopping :)

28 November 2011

Quilts of High School Shirts

Basic Steps to Making a Quilt:
1.  Cut pieces
2.  Arrange & pin pieces together.  Then sew.
3.  Arrange over backing/batting & pin & sew.
4.  Cuddle.

I've made 2 quilts in my lifetime because I needed something to do with old t-shirts I never wore anymore from random high school events so I made a bunch of them into a quilt.  It was a difficult process the first time because I had so many and wanted to use them all, and unlike regular quilts where every square is the same size, the designs weren't so piecing them together was the biggest challenge.



I used a red & gray flannel backing (those were my school's colors) which added a nice touch.  For this one I used the "batting" to make it really thick and warm, which it is!  It makes it more difficult to sew in the end because it's SO THICK, but worth it.

That quilt didn't end up so well, it was my first one, basically teaching myself, trying to make it all work together, and I used the shirts I hated, soooo the visual appeal isn't so great to me. haha mistake right there.

The second quilt I made for a friend ended a lot better because I used fabric (not from t-shirts) to fill in the places it didn't fit in very well.



I also didn't use the batting and used the embroidery thread ties to attach the backing and front and use less machine sewing.

And of course since it's a gift, giving it in a pretty presentation is important!



24 November 2011

It's Thanksgiving!

I apologize for not blogging in a few weeks, but it has been a busy week at home, by busy I mean, I've been busy snuggling with my pets, watching movies, knitting, crafting, and shopping.

Thanksgiving isn't a big holiday celebrated with my family (although I have every intention of making it HUGE when I have my own.)  We have the typical turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and more dinner, but everyone has always worked the day after Thanksgiving so driving 4 hours to Grandma's isn't an option.  This year it's especially different because it's just my mom and me, since my brother has moved to Florida.  The question came up from my mom this year about getting just a turkey breast instead of the full turkey, and we were really considering it, when we realized that my brother never ate turkey anyways and it's been my mom and me eating a whole turkey for years!  So the big, fat turkey is sitting in the oven right now.

I'm especially thankful this year for so many things!  Although my sailor is still out in San Diego and couldn't come home for this holiday, I'm thankful he'll be here over Christmas and that he has such good friends there that he has somewhere to go for a good Thanksgiving dinner, other than the chow hall.  I'm so thankful he's my man and I get to lean on him for the good and bad, and that we have a wonderful relationship despite being away more days than together in the past year.  I'm thankful we get to talk as often as we do and that he is succeeding in his career as a hospital corpsman.

I'm thankful for the family I have in my life and excited to see all the changes we will go through in the next year.  I sure didn't have any clue our family would go through everything we have in the last year.  I'm thankful how close I've become with my uncle, a whole new experience for me, after living without a fatherly figure for almost a decade.

I'm thankful for the friends I have, and was reminded of that 2 days ago with a big reunion of 9 girls at Olive Garden, eating probably 10 bowls of breadsticks and 8 or so bowls of salad between all of us!  (Check out my friend's blog here:  http://thechaseskandl.blogspot.com/  I also have great friends at college as well, whom I couldn't make it through nursing school without.  Choosing bridesmaids is going to be DIFFICULT!

I'm also thankful for the blessings I've received from God, to be able to attend college, be optimistic, have a home, a bed to sleep in, a career awaiting me after graduation, the smarts to make it through college, clothes on my body, and good health.


I'm ready to kick off the Christmas season now that Thanksgiving is here!  Christmas movies, decorations, cookies, crafts, travel, glitter, gift wrapping, etc.!  It all starts tonight with Black Friday at midnight.  My stops:  Old Navy, Target, Kohl's, Pier One. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

08 November 2011

Introducing... My Family

Here's a little about my family just to introduce them.  Although I currently live at school, outside of Baltimore, on an on-campus apartment, HOME is considered to be East Berlin, PA, a town with 2 stop lights and less than a mile long located between Gettysburg and York, PA.

My home consists of my mother.
One dog.  Nakita "Nikki" Mackenzie, who is the sweetest golden retriever ever, though she sounds ferocious, she'll hide under the table whenever anyone comes into the house.


And two cats.  First we have Maverick "Danger Zone," and yes, he is named for Top Gun.  He's only a year old and plays like a kitten but is 3x the size now.



Then we have Chloe Ann, the older one who is very snotty and won't show you any affection but wants all of yours.

& I love them all very much! (Although Maverick is my favorite).

And I have an older brother, who moved to Florida a month ago with his best friend.

My mom has raised me on her own, while working full-time and being a part-time college student since January 8, 2003 when my dad passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack.  I knew I sure made her life more difficult throughout the years but I think I'm at the age now where I have learned to appreciate her.  I think she's done a great job on her own because I know it could not have been easy to get through losing your husband, taking on all the responsibility, going back to college in her 40's, sending herself, me and my brother to college, staying in the same house, etc.
     Because I've seen her go through it, I know if I lost my husband early that things do work out and I could get through it because I've seen it first hand.  There's no way in hell I'd ever want to, but there are always worse things -- like my children losing both parents.

In the future, I'll post a blog solely dedicated about my dad because he was an amazing person - Air Force medic, firefighter, EMT, part of the HAZMAT team, PEMA task force, trained search and rescue dogs, and more.

But that is my immediate family and our fur children :)

06 November 2011

A Medic & a Nurse

The nerds that we are, both in the medical field, Sailor as a hospital corpsman in the Fleet Marine Force, and me as a future Navy nurse in my senior year of nursing school, we like to get our medical nerd-talk on.  Not only do we send and receive texts of nerdy pickup lines about neurotransmitters, blood flow, dyspnea, heart palpitations, etc. but we get excited teaching each other new things we've learned.

Sailor has gotten more of the emergent care training... thorocentesis, fractures, burns, severe wounds, blood loss, etc. while I've gotten more of the chronic illnesses... cancer, diabetes, heart disease, system failures, asthma, COPD, etc.  So he teaches me about emergent care procedures, and I teach him why.  In Corps school they teach them a lot about diseases and systems of the body and what to do, but they don't tell them why.  So I get to teach him the cellular level of everything.

I really don't know what people think when they're around us because when we get to talking about medical things we start going off on tangents.  The nerds that we are shows so easily.  We both have such a strong emphasis on learning that we soak up the information we share with each other.  We're also slightly hypochondriacs.  Today I thought I was pre-diabetic.  Luckily, we have each other to tell us we're being ridiculous and we can see the reality. haha

01 November 2011

My Sailor Came Home Early!

For the past 11 days, I have been a busy girl with 2 tests, Saturday/Sunday clinicals, 46 hours of class, commuting an hour-fifteen from home, but the BEST WEEK (and a half) EVER!  All because my sailor gave me 48 hours notice that he was coming home!

I don't even know where to start.  The moment he told me he had landed on the east coast, I was a nervous wreck (no idea why) and had to go out to Texas Roadhouse for a very large margarita.
So that night, I got to see him for the first time in months!  I would give you a play-by-play of every moment but I'm keeping all the details to myself, but the whole week showed me how much he means to me, how well we work together, how similar we are in quirky habits, our OCD-ness, ideas, etc.


We got our Navy on in Annapolis one of the nights and I got to finally buy the Navy t-shirt, sweatshirt, and bumpersticker I've been dying to get!  I'm officially a full pledged Navy girl now!  My favorite part of our week together was being the obnoxious, hand-holding couple that I despise so much when he's away.


I was so spoiled when he was here, having someone to talk to all night and day, a warm body to keep me warm, flowers, dinner out, over a week free from doing homework, stress-free, hugs whenever I wanted them.  I am lucky enough as well to be seeing him over Christmas.  We gave in and told each other our Christmas surprises (one of those I'll tell you if you tell me because I'm going to tell you anyway) and we're looking forward to my gift to him (and myself haha), a couple's 1-hour massage.  His surprise is a day out in Pittsburgh and a Penguins game!  He surprised me, that's for sure.  He always has to beat me in giving or being sweeter so we're always trying to come out on top.

 I'm so thankful to have had that time to catch up with him and get all the lovey-dovey emotions out to hold me over till I see him next.  Every night I went to bed, face hurting from smiling so much.  No joke.  I took Tylenol one day because my jaw hurt form smiling and it was radiating.

It's so good to see and be reassured after those inevitable nights in a long distance relationship when you fear the next time you get together that things will be awkward or different but to know things are even stronger and you fall more in love than you could ever imagine possible.

And now I keep getting reminders of how amazing he is, after he has left, with hidden post-its in my room from my sailor.