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.

25 December 2012

A Navy Nurse's Christmas

I have been unfortunately working both Christmas Eve and Christmas day, but seeing as I have no children and my sailor is in Afghanistan, I am glad to be able to work the holiday so that others aren't apart from their family.

It's been these two shifts that remind me why I love being not only a nurse (and also why I hate it), but mostly be be a nurse in the Navy and why that makes it so much more worthwhile as a career.

For instance, yesterday I sat and held a newborn baby girl who wouldn't even meet or be held by her daddy until she was at least 10 months old because he just got re-deployed after coming home for a short while.

Or... the family who had problems getting WIC support because they were closed for the holiday because the low ranking privates and seamen get paid so little they qualify for WIC support.

Or... the father's spending every moment they can to hold their new baby because they know in a month how it feels to leave their family behind again and again.

My Christmas day started with me getting up before 5am, not to open presents, but to go to work.  My first "Merry Christmas" of the day was to the Marine who had been standing watch at the back gate in the rain and would miss his children's expressions as they walked down the stairs and saw what Santa brought. (I'm hoping he's like me and took the shift to let others be with family.)  As my day went on, I was visited by the Commanding Officer of the hospital (who I must say is awesome here) and provided care to active duty and dependent wives.  I can say that I love my job.  I feel that the military community is so appreciative of your help and are eager to learn and have a healthier lifestyle.

But I just want everyone to take the moment and remember the thousands of men and women who aren't in the country, on the continent, or on land, who aren't with their family today, Thanksgiving, New Year's and the other holidays and special events they miss.  And also remember the reason we celebrate Christmas and how our lives would be changed without the birth of Jesus and without the freedom he gave us, as well as the freedoms we have living in America.

Have a Merry Navy Christmas!

19 December 2012

Home for Christmas!

I somehow managed to make it through my hospital orientation, floor orientation, and first week on my own as a nurse and that all rolled me right into Christmas, so before I make a lovely post about all the nasty but awesome nurse-y things I do now, a quick post about why I love coming home to my grandmother's for Christmas, which I get a nice 4 days to do without taking leave because we drove over night to make happen (which surprisingly wasn't that bad).

So things I love about coming to Grandma's in Pennsylvania:
  • The drive... it's kind of exciting to be going somewhere you know the end of the road is a comfy, loving place.
  • The house... it's not a great house, but it's the standard from coming here my whole life that I love.
  • Movie & knitting time galore!
  • Reading time galore!
  • Seeing the big Catholic church and cross on the high hill looking out my grandmother's back door.
  • Blue Spruce Festival of Lights... light display the Boy Scouts put on every year that really aren't that great but it's a tradition so we have to and we make it fun.
  • Hoss's, Bruno's, Grub's, and Tom's Pizza that they cut in squares
  • Stocking up at Joann Fabrics
  • Pittsburgh Penguin gear everywhere
And, of course, spending time with my family who I only get to see twice a year.

24 November 2012

How to Knit a Shrug Sweater

  This is such an easy sweater to make and you can modify it easily if you want the sleeves longer or shorter by how many stitches you cast on.

You will need:
  • 3-4 skeins of yarn (you can use any type and weight, the number will vary depending on brand)
  • I used size 12 straight needles, but if you want it looser or tighter you can use a larger or smaller needle.
  • Darning needle
  1. Cast on 50 stitches loosely.
  2. Knit row.
  3. Purl row.
  4. Repeat knitting and purling alternately until piece measures 24" (May need to be larger if you have broad shoulders.)
  5. Bind off all stitches.
  6.  Sew ends together.
      7.  Hold piece with sewn edge in center and match up to opposite side to find the center.  Sew 6" to each side of top.  This creates the back and arm holes.
 Wear it with a dress, long sleeved shirt or tank top!

18 November 2012

House Update

We've lived in our new house almost 5 months now so I thought I'd share a few photos about how it's coming along (which is really slowly).

We have couches and tables now! With random lamps and no decorations..

The washer & dryer need to be put in the laundry room and move the crappy ones the apartment came with to storage.

Hidden boxes that need to move to storage

I finally decided what I'm going to do above the shelves!

Absolutely nothing in the bedroom, but the futon was moved up and now is our spoiled dog's bed

My furniture from home, waiting to be refurnished when I pick a theme

No computer desk or dressers yet :(

 Clearly I have a lot to do! But I want everything to have the perfect pieces so there's not a bunch of random stuff.

12 November 2012

Veteran's Day & Health Issues, a Guest Post

Veteran's Day is a great opportunity for Americans to express their gratitude to those who have served our country in the military. Your sacrifices have enabled the United States to remain free and prosperous. Sometimes people who make sacrifices for others fail to take care of themselves like they should. Or perhaps they just do not have correct information when it comes to health matters.

Let's take a look at some of the more common health issues that our brave veterans often face when their days of service are over.

Fitness and Weight
The rigors of military life provided many opportunities for veterans to stay in shape. After their years of service, many find themselves out of shape and facing weight-related health issues like diabetes and joint and back pain. That is why it is so important to get regular exercise and to have a good diet. It is almost like an insurance policy against many diseases.

Find an exercise that you enjoy and gets your heart pumping. Encourage your spouse or loved ones to accompany you when your run, swim, or bike. This way, you can motivate each other when your enthusiasm lags.

When you begin your exercise routine, be sure that you are also eating healthy foods. Your body will need high quality fuel to provide energy for your exercising.

If you are doing resistance training, you will need to be sure that you are getting a good source of lean protein. Good sources of lean protein are fish, turkey, and skinless chicken.

Many years ago, a product called asbestos was commonly used in many military facilities and vehicles. At first, asbestos was thought to be harmless. However, it became known that the asbestos fibers caused a serious lung disease called mesothelioma cancer in some people.

Some veterans were exposed to asbestos fibers while working in military bases that used the material in construction materials like fire-proofing and insulation. The U.S. Navy had many cases of mesothelioma among its personnel because asbestos was widely used as fire-proofing in places like boiler rooms and submarine engine rooms. Since even a small fire could do major damage in a confined space like a submarine, asbestos was commonly used in places at high risk of fires.

One aspect of mesothelioma is that the disease often takes many decades to become evident. So even though you many have served 30 years ago, you may have been exposed to asbestos without knowing it. Fortunately, the disease often progresses very slowly and the symptoms are treatable. So take heart if you have been diagnosed. There is hope.

Treatment for mesothelioma tends to focus on treating its symptoms. Many mesothelioma sufferers live enjoyable and productive lives for many, many years after their diagnosis. This disease is well known to science, so your doctor will know how to treat any symptoms you may be experiencing. Also, the search for a cure is ongoing.

Written by Emily Walsh, Community Outreach Blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Please keep your support for those serving and who have served because those good memories and the hardships will stay with them forever, as will the physical hardships they all endured.

Happy Veteran's Day!

07 November 2012

My Perfectly Blissful Cloudy Day

I am absolutely convinced that if I lived somewhere where the weather was disgusting or it was dark many hours of the day that I would be absolutely perfect.  I find myself always so relieved when it's a cloudy day and I don't feel bad staying indoors and enjoying a pair of sweatpants.  Even a dark, rainy day doesn't stop me if I need to run errands.  (However, extreme heat will!)

So yesterday was the perfect day!

My pets got me up early and I sat and knit a little while eating breakfast and enjoying a cup of hot tea.  I got mounds of laundry done, and got to work on lots of crafts!

Working on a watercolor map for the guest room
Snuggling with my dog
Snuggling with my cat

While watching some Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving

Began to re-read Harry Potter
Watching Ghostbusters 2!
 There's nothing more relaxing than a day full of crafting, knitting, reading, and cuddling under a blanket while doing all of those by lamp light, which I have an obsession with lamps and hate overhead lights.

04 November 2012

Fun Things to do in NC.. Duplin Winery

Before I got down here, everyone gave me the nasty face about coming to Camp Lejeune, NC, but most of those people were from large cities so I can understand that compared to having a zoo or nightclubs and excessive shopping and art galleries down the street, this is an improvement from having 2 stoplights in my town and driving at least 45 minutes for good shopping.  I'm used to trying to get creative for new things to do. 

So if you are at Camp Lejeune, and of the drinking age, which 50% of the people are not here, you have to go to the Duplin Winery. (With a DD of course, Arrive Alive!)  I had no idea North Carolina was such a wine country!  And this place is the leader of the pack.  I had a tour of the facility from one of the guys who started the company, and he then did lots of wine tasting, and then had a light early dinner, which I like to call linner (like brunch but lunch/dinner).

I learned so much about wine making and grapes that day!  It was my sailor and my last romantic outing together and we had a blast!  I'm definitely going back with everyone who comes to visit me.  It was less than an hour from the front gate and I came home with a BIG box of wine, plus they have a military discount that is equal to the club member's prices! The North Carolina grapes, muscadine grapes, make a sweet wine but they have lots of reds and whites to choose from and lots of special holiday wines.

28 October 2012

1 week down, 30 to go.

It's been one week since I watched the love of my life get on a bus and head overseas on his first deployment.  Luckily, I've been super busy at work and when I get home to really sit down and get sad.  I'm also lucky to have gotten a phone call from him last night before he starts getting into the more dangerous stuff and I lose communication.  A big shout out to my momma, Uncle Handsome, my MOH Rachael, and bridesmaids Ashley, Kim, and Shelby, and groomsmen Josh to checking in on me and my new wifey friends Claire and Allison for getting me out to see Pitch Perfect (which is an absolutely hilariousssss movie!) and having a girl's night out! :)

All of his stuff

The Wolfpack
On the home front!

14 October 2012

Pre-Deployment. One more week...

This time next week I will be starting my estimated 7 month journey without my sailor, who is leaving for his first deployment.  I'm doing fairly well knowing that it is coming, without really having a grasp on how long 7 months will be without him.  The longest we've been separated is about 6 months when he first went to boot camp, and A and C school, but we got to talk a good bit during the schools.

I'm fortunate that I will be very busy while he is away, finishing up my orientation and beginning as a nurse officially on the postpartum and labor and delivery unit, which I am excited about because work will be a happy place.  I'm also very lucky because my mom will be coming down to North Carolina to live with me while he's away to keep each other entertained because I know I would go into a deep state of depression if I was by myself.  Best mom ever! :)

Unfortunately while he is away, I will be planning our entire wedding by myself.  Although we mostly have all the major details planned out but not set in stone, it's sad but humorous that I'll be sending him a Save-the-Date across the world for when he gets home.  He's sitting next to me right now getting all of his addresses in order for me.

I'm ready for anyone who's gone through a deployment to let me know all the secrets on how to get through it!

06 October 2012

Things I'm Obsessed with this Fall

It might not feel like fall here in North Carolina quite yet, but I am super excited for fall weather, the leaves changing colors (it hasn't even started here yet), fall flavors, fall fashion, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc.  Yesterday it was a summery 85 degrees and at least on Monday there will be an "early arctic front" making it 65, says the weatherman.

There's so many things I'm excited about this fall!

Old Navy's Pop of Color jeans... so comfy and stretchy and the colors are awesome!
  Putting Pinterest to good use and making holiday wreaths for my new home!

If you are a fairy tale lover, you need to get into this show!  Catch up online because this season is so good.  It ties in so many different character's stories so well.

New comedy and absolutely hilarious.  If you liked her in No Strings Attached, she's just like that character.
My new obsessions also include:  DV-Ring TV shows (we'll never get rid of our free trial now), pumpkin scented candles, vacuuming with my awesome Hoover, Fruit Roll-ups (why did I ever stop eating them?), and sending greeting cards because who doesn't love mail and my new address labels?

29 September 2012

Oh, I was at ODS for 5 weeks?

Yay! I'm finally back to high-speed internet, my laptop, pictures are uploaded, and the unpacking has an end in sight!  For 5 weeks I was up in Newport, RI at Officer Development School, where my classmates and I learned how to be officers.  My classmates included lots of nurses, doctors of many kinds, chaplains, dentists, administrators, lawyers, nuclear stuff, etc.  I had a rough first two weeks, being extremely homesick for the first time in my life and basically wondering what in the world I got myself into.  After beginning to make real friends, it got better though :)

I wish I could write about everything I learned... how to run with people 40 inches in every direction around you, how to drill, how to look busy, how to look like you're still awake and paying attention to another powerpoint, how to eat in 15 minutes, how to survive (well, more like tolerate as much as possible) without any caffeine or sugar, how to have random conversations with people because there is nothing else to do, etc.

But the best part was liberty!... Shopping, sailing, and eating in Newport and a trip to Boston!

You must add Newport, RI to your list of places to visit; there's mansions, beaches, bars, shopping, Cupcake Charlie's, boat tours, super cute bed and breakfasts, and so close to Boston and tons of other cities!

Money galore in Newport

Fenway Park
 Boston is extremely family and pet-friendly and super clean.
Site of the Boston Massacre
Go on the Freedom Trail guided tour if you want a lot of Boston history
My mom & me... Don't judge the pants lol

Class 12100 Tango Company!

09 August 2012

Watch out Navy, Here I Come!

This is my final post before I leave for 5 weeks of ODS, Officer Development School, in Newport, RI.  I am so excited to head north after spending over a month in North Carolina, in the 110 degree heat indexes and forcing myself to wake up before 7 am so that I could get a run in before 8 when it starts getting HOT and so humid!

From the people I have talked to, ODS is called "Fork & Knife" school because we learn how to wear the uniform, customs and courtesies, how to drill, naval history, and the other basics, with less physical training and hard stuff like in basic training or OCS, Officer Candidate School.  Basically, ODS is catered to nurses, doctors, veterinarians, lawyers, and such.  So I'm counting on being one of the younger ones since I went to school for 4 years right out of high school, while those who have gone to 4 years pre-med/law then 4 years graduate, and residencies or what not, may have a few years on me.

I've never been to Rhode Island so I'm excited to see the area and do some shopping downtown when we have liberty!  I'm also so ready to start getting paid :) 

My big question going in now is if my hair is going to cooperate to be put in the fist of a bun I'll need to wear in uniform because it's at a medium length and has some layers and it didn't grow as fast as I thought it would.  I may end up chopping it to a bob when I get there if it's too much of a hassle.

Next time I post, I'll have my uniforms and lots to write about!

04 August 2012

Make your own Beach Picture Frame

You will need:
  •  Elmer's glue
  • Seashells (make it special and wait till you can pick them off of the beach yourself!)
  • Sand
  • Picture frame, whatever size you desire, works best with white

  1. Take the glass and back off of the picture frame so there is no need to tape to protect it.
  2.  With your finger spread a thick layer of glue over the top of the frame.
  3. Pour a generous amount of sand over and let it sit for an hour before you shake the excess sand off.
  4. If any spots are left bare, apply more glue to that area and sprinkle with sand.
5.  If gluing on small seashells (dime-sized or smaller), fill the entire back of the seashell and place on frame.  If using a larger seashell, put glue along the outer edge.  Let dry and flip over to see how well they are stuck to the frame.
6.  Replace the glass, add a picture, and the backing!

30 July 2012

Happenings this Week

It's a busy week, and only going to get busier for the next.... 3 months?  This is what's happening right now:
  • It's my last week in North Carolina till I return as an officer in uniform.
  • Preparing myself physically and mentally for Officer Development School, where I will be in exactly 2 weeks.
  • We have my mom's dog with us now as a trial run for after my training because she has to give up a pet because she's moving and only allowed 2.
  • Constant watching of the Olympics.
  •  My sailor's 21st birthday! (Yes, I am 20 months older than him, and he doesn't let me forget it!)

25 July 2012

How to wear free XL shirts that are piling up

As a recent graduate of college, and one who stockpiled the many free XL shirts that were given away at sporting events, club events, blood drives, etc., I have about 2 crates full of XL shirts that I wear to bed because there is no where else to wear them!  I seriously have not ONE college tshirt that is actually my size.

There's a fun way to make the shirts you actually like wearable, whether they're too small, too large, or have been damaged by washing or yellow pit stains!  All you have to do is:

  1. Cut out the logo, leaving a good inch around the border.
  2. Cut closer to the shirt's design, making it a more precise cut.
  3. Go to Walmart, Target, or any other store and buy a cheap shirt (one made of the same material) that would match.
  4. Wash the shirt in case it decides to shrink.
  5. Pin the logo onto the shirt, making sure it is straight and centered.
  6. Sew, by hand or machine, the logo onto the shirt.

And you have a shirt that fits, with a logo you like, and that no one else will have!  It takes less than 30 minutes.

20 July 2012

3.5 Weeks in NC

It has been 3.5 weeks that we've  been living in North Carolina now, minus a few days back home in PA for the 4th and a week long vacation in the Outer Banks, but still not much progress on the house.  I've finally gotten all the stuff organized as far as possible, while having no desk, no dressers, no shelving, or anything besides the bed and table we purchased the first weekend.  We both want to be there to buy the big things so Monday through Friday is out while he works and I play at home until I leave for training (which is in 3 weeks and 1 day!!!  I have to say though, I am ready to start making that salary and getting my nurse back on).

So here's a few pictures of our home as it is this morning... nothing exciting unfortunately because we want to make all of our artwork by hand and I refuse to have a bunch of mismatched items decorating the rooms.  So until we make all the large furniture purchases, we're living with white walls and box furniture!

Our boring bedroom... for now.
Our make-shift box desk until we get that and shelving.

My bathroom has unconsciously turned into a Mexican themed room.

Our living room futon!

Our bookshelf for now :(

At least the kitchen is decorated a little bit!  It's my favorite room so far!