Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hanging In There

As of Friday, Jason will have completed four weeks of trauma surgery and he'll only have eight more weeks left in his surgery rotation. His last eight weeks will be in general surgery so he'll get to scrub in on a lot more surgeries but they won't be as interesting as the ones he has gotten to see these past few weeks. He's gotten to scrub in on an open heart surgery, gang related violence surgeries and anything else that came through the ER doors. He is definitely enjoying the hands on experience that surgery offers but isn't quite sure if the crazy hours are something that he can cope with. Not all surgeries were successful for him these past weeks...he has seen more death in the past month than he's seen in all his other rotations combined. Not only have the hours been rough on him, but the emotional part has been a struggle too. He is such a perfectionist (not that I'm complaining) so any free time that he has, he practices suturing or studies up for his next shelf exam. I know that Jason doesn't enjoy being away as much as has been but the past month has been extremely hard on me. Other medical student spouses have always said how rough the journey was going to be but I had no idea. I don't like being home alone so much...dinner time, American Idol nights and weekends aren't as much fun as they used to be! This surgery rotation has been a struggle for me....and the boys! Many nights the boys sit at the front door waiting for Jason to get home.
I know that sometimes sacrifices have to be made to get to the end result but no one said that I would have to enjoy the sacrifices. I miss seeing my husband and having him around to talk and laugh with. I know that 'this too shall pass'....just not fast enough!!
Thank goodness for two sweet boys to keep me company...but I lose all their attention once their daddy walks through the door.
Hang in there Jason, you are a step closer to being done with surgery. We are so super proud of you and DEFINITELY CANNOT WAIT FOR YOU TO BE DONE!!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A New Look

Summer is rapidly approaching and with the warm air blowing through the trees, I got antsy for a change. My hair has pretty much always been long--it's just easier that way. You can throw it up in a ponytail and run out the house in a moments notice. It's difficult to be creative everyday, at least for me, so most of the time my hair is pulled back or laying flat on my head. Not a good look for summer....so last week I worked up the nerve to call my beautician and made an appointment. You know when you are ready for a change? Any other time you might not have the nerve to go through with something drastic, but you are ready at the exact moment! Well that was exactly how I was feeling. Nervous but ready! Well about three hours before my appointment last week, I got a call that my beautician was sick and would need to reschedule my appointment. All I could think was "I'm not sure I'll be ready for a change next week...I'm ready NOW!" Well I rescheduled for yesterday and I guess I was more ready than I thought because once I got in the chair, I was ready for a change and told her to cut it off!
Here is the final result....
It's not the greatest picture...I'm not that good at taking pictures of myself but you get the idea.
I LOVE IT! It feels so much lighter and healthier and definitely a lot faster and easier to fix! I'm officially ready for summer...well at least my hair is!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bead for Life

Today at work, I was given a bracelet, by a co-worker, made by the Bead for Life organization in Uganda. Bead for Life is an organization supports the women of Uganda and other poor and suffering countries by helping spread the word of their work. The hardworking, intelligent and strong women want to improve the quality of life for themselves and their family so they build beads out of recycled paper and turn them into bracelets, necklaces and earrings. What was trash is turned into beauty, money, hope and food.
I was so impressed with the bracelet and the different style that each bead had that I immediately went and read up on this awesome organization that helps empower and rescue women in less fortunate situations. I will definitely be ordering my family and friends a piece of jewelry from this wonderful organization!

To visit the website visit: http://www.beadforlife.org/indexS.html

You'll be amazed and in awe what these women can do with old magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, calendars and any other piece of paper that gets trashed on a daily basis....I know I was!

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Do!

Happy Anniversary to the man of my dreams! Today is our two year anniversary...it's crazy to think that two years ago we were getting ready to start the rest of our lives together. Our wedding day was better than anything I could have imagined. Our ceremony was perfect! It was something I'll never forget. Something that stands out in the ceremony was a very sweet passage that the minister read...
Jason, will you please turn your palms up so that Ashley can see them and hold them in her hands?
Ashley, these are the hands, young and strong, of the one who has just promised to love and cherish you all the days of your life together. These are the hands that will work long hours to earn a living for you and the family with which God blesses you. These are the hands that will be nicked and bruised from trying to fix things around the house to make you more comfortable. These are the hands that may sometimes look large and clumsy, yet be gentle as he holds your baby for the first time. These are the hands that will tenderly lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into his eyes; eyes that are filled with his love and desire for you.
Ashley, these hands belong to the one who is to be your husband. Upon your life, your love, and your devotion he will lean for strength and inspiration. He will look to you for encouragement, for cheerfulness and for confidence. No matter what others may think-they may forget him, lose confidence in him, or turn their backs upon him-but you must not. May your life and love be the inspiration that will constantly lead him to greater dependence on the Lord.
Ashley, will you please turn your palms up so that Jason can see them and hold them in his hands?
Jason, these are the hands of the one who has just promised to love and cherish you all the days of her life. These hands are smooth and young and carefree not, but one day will be lined and rougher because of their work in seeking to make your life more comfortable. These are the hands that will hold any children with which God blesses you in tender love, soothing them through illness and disciplining them as needed. These are the hands that will hold your face and wipe your tears--in wonder and awe that you would cry for her. Jason, may you remember these things and treasure them all the days of your life.
Now both of you, join your hands together. And as you do, remember that these are the hands that you will lift in praise to God for the blessings he bestows upon you. And also, that these are the hands that you will need daily to fold in prayer as you pray for each other and for your family as it may grow in the years to come.

Through the good and the bad times...I'm so thankful that God gave me a perfect pair of hands to hold! I couldn't have asked for and received a better husband! Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Happiest Place On Earth

Back in January we volunteered and did community service and as a result we were given a 1-day, 1-park pass to our choice of Disneyland or California Adventure. We decided that this weekend would be perfect because our anniversary is on Monday and Disneyland would be a perfect way to celebrate. Our friends, Laura and Steve, also volunteered and got a free ticket so they enjoyed Disneyland with us!! We were so excited to get to act like crazy, out of control kids for the day! We left bright and early Saturday morning so we could get to the parks when they opened...we wanted to make sure that we got the most out of the day as possible. We paid a little extra money once we got there so we would be able to enjoy both parks...best idea EVER! We wanted to ride the bigger rides at California Adventure but still see all the magical Disney characters and remember all the Disney movies from our younger years. We started our day at California Adventure! We read our map and hit all the big, main rides and saw all the main attractions that the park had to offer. There was no standing in our way..HA! The first ride we came to was a water raft ride...it was still early and the sun hadn't popped out from behind the clouds but we were on a semi-schedule, as far as rides go, so we decided to give Grizzly River a try. The boys tried to give their best bear impersonation...too funny!Needless to say, the water ride was not the best idea for so early in the morning. We all got a little wet but Jason was sitting right by the steps in our boat thing and he got drenched. His pants and the back of his shirt was soaked! He dried shortly after our next ride, Californian Screamin, a fast paced roller coaster. It was a large rollercoaster that was on Paradise Pier. We had so much fun that as soon as we got off, we got a fast pass to go on it again! I tried to take a picture of the coaster cam picture...our faces are priceless!
We rode just about every ride, some even twice, before we headed over to Disneyland. Disneyland was so magical! The castle, the characters and all the scenary made it feel so special and surreal. Right when you walk into the park is a Mickey Mouse picture made out of flowers.

The theme was all about celebrating with Mickey Mouse--birthdays, anniversaries, first time visits and any other reason to celebrate! We were there to celebrate our Anniversary with the crew! Nothing better than celebrating with Mickey Mouse...

It was so much fun going through the park and listening to upbeat Disney songs! The tunes definitely put pep in our step as we were walking from ride to ride. It was fun to watch all the little kids get so excited when they saw their favorite character. Most of the kids were decked out in Disney costumes and they were so excited to see all the park had to offer.

The rides were great...Space Mountain, Splash Moutain, Thunder Moutain, Indiana Jones, Buzz Lightyear and all the other rides that we could fit in before the park closed. Once we saw everything at Disneyland, we headed back over to California Adventure so we could get in some last minute rides before they closed. Yes, you read that correctly. We got to the park when it opened and we left the park when it closed! We had 11 hours of a Disney packed day! We screamed on the rides, sang along with songs, laughed until our stomachs hurt, ate too much cotton candy and loved every second of it! We couldn't have asked for a better day! Being a kid for the day was way more fun than we ever could have imagined!

Appreciation

This past week was Volunteer Appreciation week and I made sure I took my camera to work so I could get our wonderful tutors in acion! Volunteers don't participate because they want attention and constant appreciation but sometimes it's nice to spoil the ones that give back to the community and help in areas that need it the most. Without volunteers, our organization would not be able to exist. Our students would not be getting the help they so desperately need and want.
We are putting together a thank you party for our tutors for this summer but just me walking around and taking pictures of them in action really seemed to make their day.

Volunteers are wonderful! The kindness that they have for others is unbelievable...spending their free time helping others for FREE definitely says a lot!!

Big thanks to all the volunteers that give their time to help out the community! The world is definitely a better place because of giving people!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Read for Life Gala

After months of preparation, the Gala has finally came and gone. Before working at a non-profit, I would have never of guessed what a Gala entailed or the amount of work that goes into large fundraisers. Our Gala was titled "The Read for Life Gala" and we choose a very special person in the community to honor for their amazing work and effort, especially in areas of literacy. Our particular Gala is a silent auction with hundreds of goodies that are available to bid on...well to get all those goodies, some extra work had to be done.
In October we mailed out over 5,000 donation letters to companies, organizations and individuals asking for anything that we could use in our silent auction. Once the letters were received, it didn't take long to start getting items in the mail.
And oh my goodness....the goodies came in like crazy!! Trips, gift certificates, hotel stays, LASIK surgery, jewelry, paintings, etc. We had gotten over $40,000 worth of amazing things that we used in our Gala. It was my job to build a metrics in Excel and document every detail about the items that came in so we could have a master list to refer to and to make package making even easier. Package making? Well at the auction, we start the bids at half the value of the product. Some items are large enough to stand alone but others needed to be paired with other things to make the package more exciting. So the package making comes into play when multiple items have to be paired together to make the items more valuable and pleasing to the eye. We ended up with 115 packages....ridiculously crazy!! People can be very generous when they know a very grateful non-profit will be benefiting from their kindness.
Once we got the packages built in Excel, then we physically had to put the items together, in a bag or box, label them and store them until the big day. Here is our computer lab full of packages...it even spilled out into our conference room.
The day before the event, we delivered all the packages to the location and put them in their storage rooms. The Gala event location was at an old chuch that had been remodeled into a higher end restaurant. It was beautiful...there was stain glass windows and antique styled light fixtures!
Thursday morning, bright and early, we had to set up for the auction that was taking place later that night. We had volunteers from all over the community that helped set up the auction...thank goodness for all the willing help! Many hands make light loads!
After all the auction items and packages were set out, then all the last minute details had to be taken care of before the "fun" started. Here is a sample of some of the auction... This Gala was the organization's 10th annual and through all the years, the community has generously given close to a MILLION dollars! To celebrate this being the 10th year, a cake was donated to make the event a little more special. The cake couldn't have been more appropriate! He made the bottom cake in the shape of a book and then the other cakes were gifts. We are giving gifts everyday when we help someone learn to read and better themselves!
Once people started arriving and bidding on packages, we knew all our hard work paid off. The Gala went off without a glitch, at least no glitches that couldn't be fixed.
The Read for Life Gala this year was a success! The Council was able to raise $70,000 through the fundraiser this year! That's amazing! People are so giving when they know the great work that will be done with their money.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

All About Bazzle

Bazzle was feeling extra needy this morning...he was following me all through the house. I went and grabbed my camera and took a few pictures of my sweet little man!

How can you not fall in love with a face like this? He gets ignored a lot of times, especially when his attention hogging younger brother is around, so he gets a post all about him! He definitely makes me smile...I love my big boy! Bazzle Albert Conway, you make each day better and brighter!

She's Here!

Brooke Elise made her debut on April 15th....6 lbs 3 oz and 19 1/2 inches long! After much anticipation, the tiny bundle of joy has finally arrived! After a rough delivery, Brooke had to spend the first few days of her life in the NICU. She was having some breathing problems, so the doctors just wanted to keep an eye on her for her first few days! She got to come home yesterday so I had to get over and see her as soon as I could!
She is the sweetest little thing! When I picked her up, she felt so light and tiny, I could have held her all night! She is the best little girl!

Congratulations Thane and Desiree...she is definitely a perfect little angel! I'm glad that we live right down the street--I'll be making frequent stops to help out and give her some love and attention!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rest and Relaxation

This weekend couldn't have been any better! We did everything that needed to be done....spend quality time together and rest! Friday when Jason got off from work, he had caught the sinus sickness that I had last week. We had already made plans to do dinner and games with friends later that night and we hadn't hung out with them in awhile so we definitely didn't want to miss! I'm not sure California would be the same without our great friends! We tried a new restaurant and unfortunately, our night ended after dinner. Jason was feeling pretty rough so he got a big dose of NyQuil before pulling down the sheets and calling it a night.
Saturday started off a little better--we didn't roll out of bed until 7am(which felt like we slept half the day away). The weather was super nice so we got out and enjoyed a little sunshine.
We rode our bikes all through the neighborhood...we found a new shopping area with tons of restaurants and shops that we didn't know was so close to our house. Notice the new piece of equipment that hubby is wearing--the helmet. We used to never wear helmets (I still throw a fit because we don't look as cute with huge silver things strapped to our head) but since Jason has been working at the hospital, things have changed. He had a patient this week that got pretty banged up when a squirrel got trapped in his spokes and caused a serious accident....needless to say, we now wear helmets.
After our bike ride, we decided it was nap time. I couldn't resist this picture of Jason and the boys! Bazzle is laying on his butt and Muzzy is laying beside him on his arm. They love spending time with their daddy! Later that evening, we took a trip up to Panorama Park to see all the oil rigs/wells. Panorama Park is built out along steep cliffs on the North side of Bakersfield. Oil wells were everywhere!!They literally were as far as the eye could see. The pictures don't show the oil craziness...my camera wouldn't zoom out far enough to see them all. The pictures aren't great, so use your imagination!!Sunday was a great end to the weekend. We slept in, napped and cooked dinner together! The weather was fabulous...I spent a good chunk of time outside by the pool today! The boys even got to play outside with their friend/neighbor Ruby. Ruby is a hyperactive Pomeranian pup that loves chasing the boys around the yard.

After a great weekend, I think we're ready to take on this week! We both have an action packed week...good thing we rested up! Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as much as we did!