Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Proudest Accomplishment

In all my (almost) 23 years of life, this particular day topped the charts.

I've had good days.
I've had bad days.
I've been proud.
I've been ashamed.
I've exceeded.
I've failed.
All of which have molded me into the unique person I am today.

Since 2011, I've hit some major milestones in my little life.
~ opened up and ran a functional brick and mortar storefront and two online websites
~ graduated nursing school from GSU
~ got married
~ expecting our first baby

Saturday, I woke up at daylight to get ready for a test I've prepared for for months on end.
The dreaded NCLEX (nursing licensure exam).

All the schooling and absolute H-E-double hockey sticks that you go through during nursing school and yes, you still have to take a national licensure examination to determine whether or not you can officially "practice" as a registered nurse. I guess it makes some sense, but all the tests and preparation during nursing school should suffice for something! If you don't pass this exam, you get no license. In which, you can't get a RN job. And basically, your entire four year degree = worthless.

In saying all of this.. I failed the NCLEX on my first attempt.

I waited until October 2011 to take it for the first time. From graduating in May, that was almost 6 months of no nursing refreshment. Mind you, my last semester of nursing school was complete in March. From March to May was my preceptorship and once that was complete, we waited for the day we would walk across the stage! My mind was very well occupied on planning a wedding and running my boutique during this time. I had been through two years of hellacious nursing school, and wanted to now focus on planning the wedding of my dreams and then buckle down and think about a future nursing career.

Wrong choice.

After waiting a month to finally get my results back, I got the dreaded call that I had not passed the examination. The NCLEX is comprised of a variety of questions. One can have as little as 75 or as many as 265. There's no rhyme or reason as to how many you will have other than the fact that you have to provide "minimal competency".. which you could gain at 75, 86, 165, or 265 - including anywhere in between. Each individual is different and it can cut off at any particular time. I've known students who passed at 75 and those who passed at 265. I've heard of those that failed at 75 and those that failed at 265 - I was that statistic.

My first attempt resulted in the dreaded 265 question maximum and four hour time frame.
Can you imagine?
I probably lost consciousness around question 125, if not before.

I felt like such a failure.
It was embarassing.
I hated to get asked the question "have you taken your nursing exam yet?" or "have you found a nursing job yet?" or even the funnest of them all "did you pass your NCLEX?!"

Hide my face.

Growing up I did well in school. I didn't put forth much effort, but did enough to get by and did surprisingly well. So to fail such a big test was devastating for me as I had always had no struggles with school whatsoever.

It took me 7 more months to gain enough courage and confidence in my ability to sign back up for a re-take.
Balancing a store, two websites, a husband, family, friends, housework, life in general, and trying to study and re-teach myself the basics of nursing (a year later!!) was quite a challenge.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to toot my own horn by any means.
I'm just being real and honest.

I've cried. I've been uptight. I've hollered and became easily angered over teeny tiny things.
 I've not been myself all because of this additional stress not passing this horrid test has brought upon me.
It was intimidating.

Not only did I feel like a complete idiot, but I felt like I had wasted a valuable college career studying something that would be of no worth to me.

I had lost sight of my dream goals of one day becoming a NICU nurse, eventually a nurse practitioner, and maybe one day going back to teach other nursing students. With a nursing job, I would be able to provide for myself and my family, have insurance, benefits, and start a savings and retirement fund.
All of these things were no longer in sight for me.

Yesterday, I signed onto my account to check the status of the exam results from Saturday.
Surprisingly, there on the side of the screen was the "quick results" tab I had hoped for but thought it would be another day or two before it become available.

I immediately clicked on it and entered in my checking account information in order to recieve my results right then and there.
After completing the information requested, my heart was pounding out of my chest and my hands were shaking and sweating.

It felt like a life or death situation.
The next click would either fill me with complete gratitude or break my heart into a million pieces.

When I clicked that little "next" button on the bottom right of the screen,
I couldn't believe my eyes.

I had PASSED this test.
I did it.
I had studied my butt off for the past several, several months and all the hard work and dedication had finally paid off.

Tears began streaming down my face.
My hands were shaking so terribly that I could barely life my phone from the counter.
I knew I wouldn't be able to talk if I attempted to call anyone, so I took a picture of the computer screen and forwarded out a text message to those who were anticipating the results.

It felt SO good.
I cry as I'm typing this because it makes me SO happy.

I can now grasp those goals that I once admired and lived for.
Although there are several different aspects of life that has changed for me since I made those goals years ago, I still hope to achieve them one day.
Now, they seem possible.

I look back and think, above all, God's timing is so perfect.
We couldn't want such great news at a better time.
With expecting a baby in December - the jobs we both currently possess, insurance isn't readily available. We've been stressing about this concept along with the fact that we will have another mouth to feed and provide for. With my income from my boutique a year into business, it isn't a whole lot.

I hope to seek out a part-time or PRN nursing job close to home so that I can obtain some nursing experience and put this degree and hard earned work to good use.

Things are beginning to finally look up and I couldn't feel more at ease with life at this time.


Monday, July 23, 2012

...it's a GIRL!

Ok, ok, I give you permission to hate me for making you all wait so long to find out!
I think 100% of the votes were Team CHLOE!

Our guests were almost split down the middle between Team Blue and Team Pink.

Everyone participated and some had left before we were able to snap the photo!

The decor was to die for! So, so, so super cute..
Jess did a FABULOUS job. Over the top all the way!

Since our gender scan appointment and gender reveal party were scheduled just 3 hours apart, Jess had to come up with something clever besides the normal cutting of a cake, biting into baked cupcakes, etc.

My amazing friend, come up with THIS genius idea:

A "C" pinata!

Hand-made all the way.

She filled it with regular (uncooked) peanuts.

When she found out the gender, she painted ONE single peanut and placed it inside & gave it a good shake.

The three Grandmothers were responsible for the actual "reveal" part.

My Mom was blindfolded and given the paddle to take the first swings!

Take 1 = FAIL

Mom swung a little high and knocked the pinata to the floor!

So with some good, tall manly help we got it hung back up and ready for another lick! 

 Y'all, if this was not the funniest thing ever! I was laughing so hard, I was crying.
Everytime Mom took a swing, she would throw off the blindfold and scream "WHAT IS IT?!?!?!?" all while scanning the floor frantically looking for the one painted peanut!

 No luck? Jess hid that bad boy pretty good!

It was finally spotted!

Lots of excitement, laughing, and hugging going on!

Then out come the ultrasound images..

Baby Chloe definitely wasn't shy.
She made her Daddy blush  already with her pose above ;)

Baby Chloe is loved by SO many already!
It was an incredible day.
We couldn't thank Jess enough for planning, hosting, and going the extra mile for us!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gender Reveal Sneak Peak

Hello ladies!

I'm working up the post for the Gender Reveal Party from yesterday! It was a HUGE success and SO much fun.

In the meantime, I just had to share a sneak peak of the awesome set-up - thanks to my hometown friend Jess. She planned & organized the ENTIRE thing. From invitations down to the food. We are so incredibly grateful for her and all that she has done for us.

Our family and friends had a ball!

{My conversation with Jess prior to spilling her the news! - She was the first to know since she was hosting the reveal 3 short hours later! Eeeeeek! Excitement!!}

What's YOUR vote?!

Tell me what you think it is:

Team Chloe
 Team Clayton?


Sunday, July 8, 2012

week 18.

How far along? 18 weeks

Baby Size? size of a sweet potato

 Total Weight Gain/Loss? 7lbs.

Maternity Clothes? not all are labeled "maternity", but I have had to buy a size up. I found it worthwhile at Target to purchase the flowy cotton skirts in several colors/patterns. They are not only super cute and cool during the summer heat, but also light weight and very comfortable.

Stretch Marks? none so far. This week I could really feel my stomach tightening. It's the oddest feeling. Almost like you can feel your skin stretching. Scary!

Sleep? Not too bad this week. I'm still finding it easiest to sleep on my stomach. I have woke up numerous times lying on my back during the middle of the night and almost had a panic attack. They say once you reach the 2nd trimester, the uterus gets so large that it's unhealthy to lay flat on your back without it suppressing on the inferior vena cava and blocking blood flow to the lower portion of your body. So each time I wake and find myself in that position, I turn on my side immediately. Although it says it's fine that you wake up this way a few times a night, I still find it myself paranoid of the fact.

Best Moment this Week? Spending time with family and friends for the 4th!

 {me, Holly, and Jess}

Miss anything? nothing in particular.

Movement? I was lying propped up in bed getting settled in and felt a few flutters in my lower abdomen midway between my hip bones.I'm not certain it was the baby moving just yet. It could've been gas bubbles, muscle spasms, etc. But, it definitely had my heart excitedly pumping for a few minutes regardless!

Food Cravings?  junk food. it didn't help this week contained a holiday which called for family gatherings, good cooking, and lots of sweets involved.

Anything make you sick or queasy? nope.

Have you started to show yet? yes. i'm not sure how I feel about it at this point. The scales frighten me every time I step on them, so I've found myself refraining from doing so in the last two weeks. So far, I'm not the one who looks to have a "basketball" ... mine is appearing more like a watermelon, lying sideways. Mixed emotions about this.

Gender? Won't know for certain until July 18th - follow along as we plan the gender reveal party! We're still both thinking it's a girl!

Labor signs? none, just lots of tugging, pulling, and aching going on again this week.

Belly Button in or out? in as of now. it's definitely changing shape & stretching out wider. you can see the outline of it when I wear a tight fitting shirt.

Wedding Rings on or off? on.

Happy or Moody? happy!

Looking forward to? Next week hitting the 20 weeks halfway mark & finding out if we are having a sweet baby girl or boy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

week 17.

How far along? 17 weeks

Baby Size? size of an onion  - Baby continues to beef up. Now she's about 5.1 inches long and weighs about 5.9 ounces.

Total Weight Gain/Loss? 7lbs.
Maternity Clothes? wouldn't ya know.. I went shopping this week! *sigh* It was bittersweet. I hit up Target since it's the top clothing store I've heard recommendations about. Overall, it was a pleasant experience. I ended up with 3 pairs of shorts, 5 tanks, 2 tees, 4 skirts, and a pair of capri's all for less than $200. The best thing about it? The capri's were the only thing labeled "maternity". The others were all drawstring or stretchy material. Score!

Stretch Marks? none so far.

Sleep? A little better this week. Stomach sleeping is still the best right now.

Best Moment this Week? Shopping for new clothes!

Miss anything? i'm pretty content this week.

Movement? not yet, but it should be relatively soon!

Food Cravings?  anything fried.

Anything make you sick or queasy? nope.

Have you started to show yet? indeed. it's nothing for someone to walk up and make a comment about my every growing belly nowadays.

Gender? Won't know for certain until July 18th - follow along as we plan the gender reveal party! We're still both thinking it's a girl!

Labor signs? none, just lots of tugging, pulling, and aching going on.

Belly Button in or out? in as of now. it's definitely changing shape & stretching out wider. you can see the outline of it when I wear a tight fitting shirt.

Wedding Rings on or off? on.

Happy or Moody? happy!

Looking forward to? designing and decorating the nursery! Currently, we are loving these color options:

{all via Pinterest}