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.

26 January 2012

Anniversary!

Friday, January 27th celebrates the fateful night that my sailor and I gave into our feelings that we had been suppressing for quite a long time, maybe years of holding each other off and trying our luck somewhere else, but as he came down to visit me at school for about 24 hours, I guess we couldn't hold it back any longer and knew we couldn't lose each other as he was preparing to leave for his Navy adventures, that our feelings came pouring out in the week and a half we had left before I lost all communication February 7th for 8 weeks of basic training.  I really felt like I was in an old movie, writing hand-written love letters to him everyday for those 8 weeks, sometimes more than once in a day.  I smiled and cried when I got his in the mail and checked my college mailbox multiple times a day, even knowing that the mail had already gone that day and I was checking again late at night.

My sailor has been my best friend from when we met way back in the beginning of high school, and now as I think about graduating this May as a college senior, time has flown and there were many times I leaned on him for support or encouragement and especially to calm me down when I was stressed.  We had lots of fun times over the almost 7 years and lots of hard times but we were always very real with each other.  We call our selves the "optimistic realists"... we tell you the shit of it, but we hope and pray for the very best!

I can't believe that so much has happened in the past year.  We've gone through many tunnels, over mountains, bridges, hard times, good times, stressful times, but at the end of each day, I'm in love with my best friend and can't wait for my 9 o'clock phone call to hear about his day and tell him about mine.  We've made it work so well being from Pennsylvania or Maryland to Illinois, California, and now North Carolina.  I know the future holds a lot more obstacles but I trust in our relationship's strength and trust with each other that nothing could tear us apart, no matter what God brings us to, He will lead us through, and by each other's side I feel like I could take on the world.

I feel so blessed to have such a strong, healthy, loving relationship with my sailor, over long distances and when we get to be together.  Nothing changes.  We're the same people together and apart.  I never used to be a phone person, but now I'm so happy to get a phone call and could still talk and talk for hours every night with him and never run out of conversation.

He is truly an amazing man.  Sensitive, sweet, always knows exactly what to say, the person many people go to when they need good advice, smart, caring, a family man, motivated, loving.  I could go on and on.  I don't know what I've done to catch him but I'm never letting him go!

I'm so happy to have shared such an amazing time with my sailor, time apart and together, I know I'm loved by him and he knows how much I love him back!  Although we can't be physically together this weekend, in a few weeks I'll have him in my arms again!

21 January 2012

Meeting Halfway to see my Sailor!

One week of the semester down, 14 to go!  I can do it, I can do it!

For the last weekend of winter break, my sailor and I planned a trip to meet halfway between his station and home, which ended up being Williamsburg, VA.  Although it was off-season and it was basically deserted of tourists and actors in the colonial parts, it was fun walking around without the heat or snow, crowds, and crying, grumpy children.  The last time I was there, I was 5 years old and it was my first vacation ever.  We cut it short and went to Virginia Beach instead.  Sorry, Mom! :)

 We had a great time!  Just shopping around, eating, hanging out at the hotel at night.  It was great to have 3 days just to spend together, without family or friends to see and to be on an adventure of our own without time constraints or commitments.

 Colonial Williamsburg was really deserted.  But we had a perfect day to walk around, sunny, a little windy and chilly but nothing unbearable.
We also went to Yorktown, down Colonial Parkway, which is a cobblestone-esque 12 mile road just through trees lining it, no yellow lines in the center, and minimal road signs to really make you feel like you were leaving the modern world.

I've noticed my sailor and I definitely have common interests in that the adventures we like to go on are very educational. haha  Some couples may like to hit up the beaches, nature walks, city life, wineries, etc. but we like our museums, history, and zoos!  Lots more of all of those to see, hopefully some Smithsonian trips to DC while we're both on the east coast.  We're also very into the free museums, or the ones that offer military discounts ;) (which many do!)  We both decided we'll need to come back to Williamsburg in the peak season to see all the actors walking around and have a new experience there.

16 January 2012

Starting the End of my Senior Year

Just a quick blog tonight because tomorrow is a BIG DAY!  Tomorrow is my very last first day of school!  Well... of year-round school because I'm going to need a few years of a break, a life, and a solid nursing foundation before I think about going back for my Master's.

I can't believe it has been 3 1/2 years of college already!  I am a completely different person looking back on the beginning of my freshman year, but high school doesn't seem so long ago.  It's like 2 different parts of my life.  Maybe because I am still so close with my girl friends from high school, which I am so glad we all are, despite our lives going many different directions over the years!  Whenever we get together, it's as if nothing has changed at all.

Looking in the future, there's a lot coming in the next half year... graduation, commissioning, training, and my first active duty station, plus other non-work/school related things that I'll blog about once they happen ;)

Looking at the class schedule, this semester might be a little bit on the hell-ish side... my nursing practicum, complex medical/surgical nursing, and psychiatric nursing all in one semester.  It won't be mind-boggling, just time consuming.  Blogging might go through phases of desertion on the busy weeks, but I'll at least try to send out some inspiration during the winter months as we all start to get cabin fever by March.

11 January 2012

Daddy's Little Girl

Janurary 8th of this past weekend marked the 9th year anniversary of my father's passing away, suddenly from a heart attack.  I had just turned 13 and was in the 7th grade.  I had promised in an earlier post to dedicate at least one post to him so here it is.

My dad was extraordinary.  Without ever spending more than a year in college, he went on in his life to accomplish things that college graduates never have.
  • He ended his career at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency as an emergency management specialist, where he received the Mayor's Award for Valor from Harrisburg, PA for working witht he search & rescue team and was on the Governor's Task Force for Homeland Security.  He was in charge of a team of search dogs that went to NYC during the September 11th terrorist attacks and in Shanksville, PA where another plane crashed.
  • He worked with many ambulance crews as a paramedic from Indiana, State College, Bellefonte, PA as well as their fire departments.  He was also a member of the Penn State HAZMAT team.
  • He taught classes at Penn State for 10 years, without ever earning a college degree of his own.
  • He served in the US Air Force and Air National Guard.
  • He was SCUBA instructor certified, a life guard.
  • He was even offered a job as a paramedic on Air Force One but turned it down to have a family.
  • He was the best dad to me.  In elementary school I remember always riding in the fire trucks, ambulances, or air force trucks in parades or him bringing them in for show & tell.  He never failed to take me to Take Your Daughter to Work Day or on weekends.  I've sat in his classes and hid in huge piles of rubble for search dogs to find me.  He would plaster our arms or fingers to make casts.  He'd hold me in the rocking chair till fell asleep when I was way too old for it.
  • He could fix it all... He built decks, garages, fixed cars, fixed anything really, could make anything into a fun project.
  • He always helped out the neighbors and liked to have a good time.
 In my life so far I've never met a single person to match all that he has done.  The only things I wish are that we had more time to talk about all he has done so that I could hear all the stories from him and not through others and I also wish that I can do just as much as he did.



"You can shed tears that he is gone or you can smile because he has lived.  You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back, or you can open your eyes and see all he's left.  Your heart can be empty because you can't see him or you can be full of the love you shared.  You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.  You can remember him only that he is gone or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.  You can cry and close your mind, or you can do what he'd want:  smile, open your eyes, love, and go on." -Unknown

05 January 2012

Eat Healthier with a Food Journal

2012 marks the 6th year that I have been using a food journal!

It all started back in 2007 when I wanted to start eating healthier because I wasn't getting the fruits and veggies I needed, though I did like them, but I was reaching for the chips and dip for a snack over veggies or a piece of fruit.  I figured with the new year and many people's resolutions are to eat healthier and lose some weight, I'm a health nut so I'd just like to share my way of staying at +/- 3 pounds of 120 for 6 years, through the end of high school and all of college!

Let me just skip how I could rant about how exercise isn't going to do anything to help you lose weight solely and you also need to make lifestyle modifications, such as alcohol use, sitting on the couch all night, eating when you're bored or stressed or emotional (I can be guilty of this, I admit!) But eating a healthy, balanced diet really makes you feel more energized and gives you vitamins and minerals you can't get from your same old meals.

Below is a photo of my food journal...  I'll explain it all for you.

 1.  Everyday is listed and every Sunday morning is weigh-in day.  You shouldn't be weighing yourself everyday because it changes so often, you could gain a pound of water from just drinking a full water bottle, and then when you go to the bathroom next, it's gone!  So once a week is good enough, always after using the bathroom and before eating or drinking anything.

2.  I added a work out check off that really fueled me to get a workout in so that I could check off that box!  At the end of the week, I can see how well or bad I did and improve for the next week.

3.  I did a lot of research about the caloric amount my body needed and individualized my body's needs into my chart.  Your body could be different, but this could be a good starting point for you.  It's also important to learn how big a real portion size is!  A small banana is one serving of fruit, a large banana is 2... same with baked potatoes, apples, etc.  It's also important to learn where foods fit, like those lovely french fries.  On my chart, anytime I eat french fries I have to put them in as a "Fat" as well because, if they're deep fried (most likely), it is filled with oils and fats.  And on top of that, if I use keptchup, that's another fat.  I allow 1.5 fats a day for my body, and it goes fast!

This is the hardest part of the food journal, learning the portion sizes, which vary for age groups.  An excellent website is http://www.choosemyplate.gov/, which used to be MyPyramid.gov.  It can teach you everything!

Once you get going with the food journal, you see after one day how your body has been eating.  When I first started I was eating LOTS of grains/carbs.  (I didn't name my first category "Carbs" because carbohydrates can be found in lots of things, baked potatoes, rice, fruits, veggies so the lovely people at the CDC have also changed that category to "Grains").  I wasn't eating enough fruits at all.  Now I'm about to eat an entire lunch of strawberries, pineapple, and honeydew with some cottage cheese on the side because tonight I'm going out with the girls to Olive Garden, and we all know I'll need to keep all my grain portions for that! :)

It is a learning experience and takes time to get used to and improvement.  Hell, it's taken me over 5 years and I still don't trust myself to eat daily without it.


Other quick tips for using a food journal:
  • Don't wait till the end of the day to write down what you ate!  That's not helping you make choices throughout the day.
  • Write down everything, and I mean everything!, you eat.  If you pull 2 Twizzler strings out of the cupboard, write it down.  Those reaches can be adding up throughout the day.
  • Know where food items count as more than one because of the ingredients, such as soups, stews, even ice cream counts as a dairy serving and a sweets.
  • Don't skip days or skip because of vacations or days away from home!  Getting into the habit helps you in the long run.
  • Keep your past papers in a binder to look back on your weight progress or habits from the past.
  • When you do eat more than the slots provide for the day, you squeeze it in at the bottom.  It sort of makes you feel guilty and is a kick in the butt for having to veer from the chart.
Good luck!