Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hello From Texas!

 I have recieved some very nice cards, emails, etc and I just wanted to say thank you. I know no one is probably dying to read the blog every day, but I hadn't posted in forever, and just wanted to give an update.

The above picture is Nolan and I at Lowe's. Exciting huh. Well, whenever we get an evening off together, its a pretty big deal, like that night at Lowe's. I only work 3 nights a week, usually, but it seems like so much more. Nolan wouldn't tell you this, but on nights I work, he usually stays at the hospital until midnight. He's a keeper... he says he does it so the nights I am home, he can not stay  late. That makes me feel guilty, but very very lucky to have such a caring husband. I don't like to  brag on facebook, because I don't want to make all the single people feel bad, but I am going to brag a little bit here. I never thought I would find someone so wonderful, having never even dated in high school. I thought I would die an old maid.  Well, that just proves God knows what's best, and he knew I needed a friend, a best friend, my Nolan. Ok, enough mushiness!

In some ways, the past few months have flown by.  When I realized there was only one week of August, I laughed.  That can't be true, I thought. My job is getting easier, or I guess I should say I am getting more comfortable. I have learned  a lot at this new, bigger unit. I've seen a lot more to make me sad, but I know it will make me a better nurse.
 The hardest thing to see is the parents who have tried years and years to have a baby. That scares me to the core. I know its only been a tiny amount of time since the miscarriage, but to think, some people have struggled with this for years both makes me sick, but also inspires strength. I have bad days and its only been 3 months of this, while some of these families wait for years! I worry I will get to old. I worry we won't be able to have a houseful of kids like we wanted. I worry about money. I worry about Nolan's residency. Basically, I worry too much. (Stay with me, this is not supposed to be depressing)  Sadly, the hardest thing for me is seeing all of the pregnant or new mom's on facebook. Mom and Nolan remind me to be joyful, and fight jealousy, but it is so hard, even harder when you realize some individuals don't try hard, or even at all to make the precious gift of life. For some its an "accident" This is true at work too. So many babies have no one, or worse, have someone uncaring and unloving. Pray for Nolan and I to be patient ( mostly me) as we wait for whatever God decides. I trust in him, and if he wants us to wait, I'll wait. There are so many blessings I have that I often forget when overcome with jealousy.., some of which I will tell you about below. As the song says, "Count Your Many blessings..."
1. Living in Texas. While I miss everyone immensely, living away as a couple has been great for our relationship as husband and wife. You learn that having each other is the  most important human relationship. We all know I was way too much of a chicken to live away from home before, but Nolan is truly half of me now. On August 4th, we had known each other 6, YES 6, years!
2. My new job. Not just because Texas is nicer about taxing working people, but because I am learning so much, and have much more potential for growth here. I won't go into details, but we have much sicker kiddos, and the need for Level 3 NICU  nurses is high, so I think the hospital will have more interest in training me than in Lafayette.
3. Portia, enough said. Although, I will say we both have been bitten way too often. She's kind of a maniac!
4. Mom and Dad are coming to visit next week! McAfee's in October ! and Connie, Wesley, and Jesse in November! We would love for more visitors. We have so many good restaurants and places to take everyone. One place has a 7 lb burrito! Your'e probably thinking, who cares about Abby and Nolan, I'll come for the burrito! When I heard about that burrito, I said Nolan, "It's not a burrito as big as your head, It's a burrito as big as your leg!" I'm hilarious, I know.:)
5. While Nolan and I do not have children yet, we have been blessed with so many experiences that would not have been possible. I look foward to becoming a full-time mom, and that would not have been possible, while Nolan was in school. I couldn't have become as good of a nurse ( I still have a ways to go!) We couldn't have traveled or lived in Africa. When I think on these things, I am reminded, God is in control and he will never give us more than we can handle. That gives me peace, as it should to you too.
  I hope this has not seemed like a rant, or pity-party. I  miss everyone, and would love to hear from anyone! I am not spectacular at initiating phone conversations, but I would love to talk/chat/write to anyone back in the colder part of USA.
Miss you all,

Monday, June 25, 2012

Well, I definitely got too busy and forgot to post all last week. There wasn't too much exciting to tell. Orientation for both of us, and they already started working Nolan to the bone. I think it will be better once he passes his exams, but last week was eat sleep study work repeat for poor Nolan.

Friday while he was at work a very  nice couple from church invited me over for dinner and games. We played a serious game of pictionary and I had lots of fun. Also, it meant I had to drive the stick shift on the interstate. I MADE IT! I was really scared, and I probably scared a bunch of Texan drivers too, but I survived.

Saturday the residency team had a party for the old and new residents. Actually they both are staying on at the hospital to work. I guess 5/7 residents have stayed there for jobs. Interesting... I guess you just never know. Well, It was a Luau at one of the pharmacists beautiful homes. It was nice to meet the people Nolan will be working with but intimidating being around so many smart, rich people. eeek, I sure felt out of place!  From what everyone says it will be a hard year, but they all seemed happy to be there, and not at all regretful for doing a residency, which is a good thing. It seems like a great hospital.

Sunday,Nolan just studied. I  made homemade ice cream. Vanilla malt. Pretty tasty if I do say so myself. McAfee's you should be proud as I have kept Sunday pizza night tradition here in Fort Worth. It makes me feel at home.

Please email or call us. We both work this week, but would love to hear from everyone in the evenings. Well, I guess I should clarify. Don't call Nolan yet as he is busy studying. :)

Love, Abby
PS. Below, First: Portia's true nature
Second: Lion King Portia

Monday, June 18, 2012

I am not sure if anyone is reading this, but I thought I would provide an update of the weekend. We actually didn't just stay home and unpack! unlike the last two weeks. What this  means for you is..,A. Less cat pictures and B. Gulf coast pictures.

We drove to Galveston on Thursday. I pricelined us a room, and it was directly in front of the beach.
The water isn't very clean, well I guess it just has more seaweed gunk in it, but it was wonderful warm and there were waves, so we were happy. We played in the water on Friday morning.

 I just thought this picture was funny. We found these tiny baby shells on the pier and we all know I'm a sucker for babies.

This is the ferry from Galveston to Texas mainland. We had to wait a while, but from rough calculations, it probably saves people on the peninsula an hour to drive to Houston through Galveston instead of all the way around. I don't think I explained that very well. The ferry was free and we seen dolphins. I fed the birds again. I guess you didn't see that, pictures below. Along with pictures of a pirate. Which one's the pirate is my question? :)

I'm glad my mommy taught me to feed the birds.
And No, I didn't get pooped on. Although Nolan did that night just walking under a tree. I know I'm just lucky.  
Next up: The Houston Nerd Center:
   Wait, I didn't say that. The Houston Space Center that is. We paid 3 dollars to upgrade so Nolan can come back and read every single fact about the space program. I will admit, it was much better than I expected. I liked learning about the older programs. One of the coolest things we seen was that on the first broadcast from space, they read the book of Genesis. They made many references to God and the Bible in the history section of the museum. I was happy to see that, but sadly doubt many believe in the present. Maybe they do, that would be cool to know.

Well, you can imagine, we got home to a very lonely kitty. She was a bit hard to handle for a while, but I can't blame her. I get crazy after one day alone.
Tomorrrow or Wednesday stay tuned for kitties first underwear!!!!!! Its so cute!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hello From Fort Worth

Thanks for checking in. We haven't done anything super exciting lately, so I have been hesitant to post. The apartment does look like home now. ( Especially since it is messy!)

Sunday: church. Two very nice services.  We ate at Jack in the Box after morning service and the check out guy told Nolan he needed to get a case for "the baby" aka IPAD. That made me feel pretty good since I have been trying to get him to buy a case for a long time now. :)

Monday: We made chicken on the George Foreman Grill. Fascinating, I  know :) Well, it is for us, because it took us 3 years to open the silly thing!

Tuesday: I got yogurt on sale at the grocery, and made chocolate frozen yogurt.  It definitely has the twang of yogurt, but with Nolan's xantham gum, has a great texture, and is definitely worth eating. We have been "churning" out the ice cream. Vanilla chocolate chip cookie dough, vanilla chai malt gelato, and vanilla ( mom ) It is a good reason for you all to come visit!

The most exciting thing we did was more kitty photographs. The blurry ones are when she discovered a stuff pig. We are convinced that she is convinced it is alive. She wrestles with it on the ground like a  ninja kitty. It is so funny, I will have to take a video for later.

Love, Abby

Friday, June 8, 2012

Back from Africa... On to Texas

Well, I guess I kind of left everyone hanging. We are back from Africa. I am so glad we didn't take that extra trip to Rome, because as it was, it was one of the busiest months of my life. We were blessed to attend a wedding of dear friends in Minnesota. It was one of the nicest weddings I have been too... after my own of course! hahaha

A lot of other things happened too. I worked. It was actually a very rough few weeks. It was wonderful to be back with my girls, but the last week almost killed me. We had "baby boom", and it made for a little extra stress.

We went to Fort Worth with Nolan's beautiful sisters to find an apartment. Mission accomplished. We are living at AMLI: Upper West Side.  It is beautiful and the poshest place I have ever lived. I am not sure if poshest is a word, but I think you get my drift. Simply lovely!

Other things we did in May...
NOLAN GRADUATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enough said.
Nolan's graduation party at his parents.  We had tons of people and even more fun... although I am pretty sure our mother's had less fun trying to feed the group with silly Abby there to forget the lunchmeat. Oooops!
Memorial Day in Brown County. I got to meet all of Leana's family finally. It was a beautiful day.
Wedding in Lawrence County of JW and Stephanie. Another beautiful wedding.
We got a cat. Portia. And yes, I have turned into one of those annoying people who post pet pictures. :)
Nolan built a storage shed with help from his dad, Trevor, Drew, Elliot, and me ( maybe a little?)

The 2nd worst part of May was moving. I love living new places, but detest moving. I could go on and on about its horrors, but well, I think everyone agrees moving is horrible.

The worst part of May though was a bit more serious. I feel like if you care enough to read this, you should know. I am not asking for sympathy, and this may be selfish, but just letting it out makes me feel better.  I will just spit it out.. I had a miscarriage. It was very early, but it hurt so bad. I cried all one day, most of the next, and then it has progressively gotten better. God was my strength with Nolan right behind. I am not mad as I know God has his reasons, but simply sad.
Nolan and I found out on a Monday and less than a week later it was gone. It was one of the best weeks of my life though, despite the horrors of work. I was so good, I did everything right. We were so excited. Nolan had already talked about getting a minivan and we had so much fun planning how we would tell our families. Sadly, the day before we were going to tell them, we found out the worst. Instead of telling them they would be grandparents, we told them they were grandparents to a baby that would never be. MacNugget, that's what we named him. I am glad we did as now I know he was real and someday maybe I can meet him. It took 3 home tests and a serum blood test for me to believe he was real, and by the time I truly had accepted it, it was already probably too late for him.

Several good things have come out of the situation. I have to focus on the good, because life isn't fair. God didn't every say it would be, but Americans seem to think that they are guaranteed fairness. God only said that he would never give us more than we could handle. That is my comfort.
It confirmed to Nolan and I that we are as ready as we will ever be, which is one good thing that came out of the situation. 
It proved that I can get pregnant, which is a good thing. I haven't been the greatest to my body, and while I know that God has all power, I know actions have consequences, and I feared the worst.
It brought our families closer together.
While I know losing a baby this early is nothing like losing a child or an infant, I think it can help me to better help mother's in my job. I would never say I understand, but I can say that I have been through something similar. I know how much it hurt after only one week of knowing, I can't imagine having known my baby for a month, or a year, or more.  Making it through something like that is hard to imagine, but I know many have had to go through that experience, and I truly a little better able to understand.  
Oddly enough, it got us a cat. We weren't going to pay the extra fee for pets and such at our new apartment, but after the miscarriage, Nolan realized we both needed someone to take care of while we were hurting. Needless to say, Portia is one very spoiled cat and probably will be until we can have something more substantial than a kitten. She's cute and all, but well, I am a human baby person!

Ok, well, sorry to make this so heavy. I promise they won't all be this way.  I appreciate you listening/reading. I feel truly honored that individuals would care to hear about Nolan and I's adventures. We are blessed to have you!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Easter with the Kids

 Easter with the Kids:
  I must say, this was one of the best easter I have had in a long time, despite the fact that I didn't get my regular bunny cake.
 On Sunday, we made brunch and had a party for the Amani Shelter Kids. I think we had 25ish kids total, including some other random children, and it was so much fun. Egg races, candy, crafts, pin-the-tail on the Rabbit ( my project) and egg hunt ( my project). The egg hunt turned out to be very difficult, and the woman in charge was bit of a control freak and required the eggs to be labeled. This was a good idea in theory, sort of like communism. But when you have to re-lable eggs 10x, new kids keep showing up, and some kids don't get the same amount of eggs, you realize why the classic, run for eggs as fast as you can, method is much better. Thankfully though, no one cried, and with some in-the-field name changes on eggs, everyone found eggs!
  The second easter party was for the kids at Sally Test. Crafts, cupcakes, egg hunt, egg dying, and candy.  It was great fun too!
  Last easter party was for the street kids at Tumaini Children's Drop-in Center. Kids can go three days a week for shower, 3 meals, education, and some structure. The kids there are pretty rough. Haven't found those pictures, so not sure if we didn't take any because we were afraid our camera would be stolen. I am not trying to judge, if I were on the street I would probably be the same way.

Easter party 2: Sally Test Center

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mt. Elgon Caves

Ok, So I know this is bad. I am writing about the previous weekend! I am so behind. The internet has been ok, but for some reason uploading photographs took about 4 hours! EEEK So I will make this short. 
Below is me in our hotel room at Mt. Elgon. I was stretching and Nolan decided it was a cool picture. I look like I am falling, but I really wasn't. Back-bends: my only talent. 
 Below is a sort of silly picture, but I thought I looked like a movie star. Look kids, movie stars wear sun tan lotion too!
 The edge of the caves. We were supposed to go in the caves at the national park. The park though said we could not come back unless we paid the fee again. Well, the park fees are ridiculous here. 30$ if you are a muzungu, and we didn't want to pay. Our guide though found a man who owns a cave nearby. We paid him a tiny amount compared to the park and he showed us around his caves. We all agreed it was much better. We got to walk out onto their farms, and every child from the village followed us. They would yell at the kids to go back, and usually they would for a minute, but then come right back.
 Below are our new friends Katey and Lenny. They are both about to graduate from medical school. We have really enjoyed getting to know them.
 There are not many pictures of the inside of the caves because they camera wouldn't focus or take clear pictures in the dark. Everything was extremely dusty, and the flash would pick up the dust fragments. When we got out, our snot was brown.
Below is the dry dirt at the opening of the cave. During rainy season, the water will flood this entire opening, but it is odd know that it looks like the dessert. We seen a lot of bats and spider cobwebs.

 Kids here love to have their picture taken with a digital camera, then look at it. They usually don't smile. Adults never smile in pictures.

Nolan on top of the cave on the edge of a cliff. I told him not to!

 In the distance is Mount Elgon.
Walking back to our car. Red dirt =Kenya 

Our hotel from the outside. We think it was probably a British plantation home. The inside was very old, very english, and interesting.

Sadly, this is a typical biker in Kenya. Bikes aren't for fun here. They are transportation. 

Ok, Well, I am only here 3 more days. I don't know whether I will continue the blog after that. Any suggestions. I don't think Fort Worth will be this interesting. 

Love, Abby