Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week in the Life: Day 2

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
-Maya Angelou

Here is the story of Tuesday:

The clocks in our house are all set at different times, depending on whether Rob or I set them. His alarm clock is 10 minutes fast, while mine is right on; the microwave is just slightly fast, while my watch for some reason is two minutes slow. I have to constantly calculate throughout the morning to make sure that I'm not running behind. It's like living in a math word problem... "if the clock upstairs reads 7:15 but is seven minutes fast, what does the downstairs clock which is three minutes slow read?"

A few years ago I decided to challenge myself to make the bed every morning for 30 days. The habit stuck, and these days it's rare that I leave the house to an unmade bed. If I hit that last bit of my morning routine before 7:15, I know I'm on time. However, this morning I was already pushing 7:20. Knowing that I still needed to pack my snacks, put dinner in the crockpot, and take my daily WITL selfie before heading out the door, I decided there wasn't time to fold a load of clothes, too. That will just have to wait until the evening.

For dinner tonight I've planned pork chops in the slow cooker. I love the ease of the slow cooker, but using it means I've got to get my butt in gear to prepare it before I leave for work. I'm using a new recipe today, and as I gathered the ingredients, I realized I didn't have any brown sugar. Luckily a quick Google search told me I can substitute real sugar, or Splenda in this case. I set the timer for 6 hours, hoping the meat doesn't get too dry throughout the day. I always feel a little apprehensive leaving a hot electrical appliance on while I'm at work, so I said a little prayer that it neither burns the food nor burns the house down.


I always look forward to my drive to work... I relax in the routine. I try to wave to the crossing guard at the elementary school around the corner. I apply my lipstick and take one last look at myself in the mirror to make sure I'm put together. This morning I finished listening to Elise Cripe's latest podcast episode that I started last night while tidying up. I also listened to a song from Elise Barrett's new cd... I'm trying to learn the lyrics by playing the songs over and over again.

Tuesday afternoons are usually devoted to an OMM lab for the first year students. I spent some time this morning preparing for the lab, printing copies of the lab presentation for each faculty member. The closest printer to my office doesn't have a staple feature, so I have to manually collate and staple each packet. I also printed check-off worksheets for each student and then cut the full page sheets in half. Then I assigned doctors to proctor each room and went upstairs to tape the sign-in sheets on the door. I turned on the audiovisual system to make sure there weren't any issues to troubleshoot.

Mid-morning, Callie messaged me through Google Chat. I love that technology allows us to bridge the distance from Spartanburg to Shreveport. We can chat throughout the day and keep up with each other through the monumental and the mundane, through the silly and the serious. Today's conversation started when inspired by a Bible study she's working through, Callie asked me to give my "knee-jerk reaction" to the question, "Does God cause us to be in pain?" Coincidentally we are both reading books by Adam Hamilton and therefore bounced quotes and ideas off of each other before moving on to more lighthearted subjects.

On the days when labs are scheduled, lunch is provided. Today was chicken and wings from Fatz Cafe. The doctors are in the conference room as they reviewed the upcoming lab, but I took my plate back to my office to soak in a last few minutes of quiet before lab began at 1pm. 

A few minutes before lab I headed upstairs to meet the students and download the updated presentation. Today's lab was an introduction to osteopathic treatments of the cervical spine, one of the introductory concepts for the first year students. It seems like after sitting through these labs I should be able to do it myself, but that is far from reality. I'm doing good to recognize some of the terms.
Throughout both sessions of the lab (half the class at a time), I sat at the front of the main lab room to control the camera views as the presentation is simulcast to all of the other lab rooms. I tried to guess what to focus on and which views communicate better, but Dr. Williams was always quick to direct me to zoom in or show a different angle. I also recorded each clip, so the students can watch the videos as they study. While the students practiced the techniques, I was able to relax for a second... during these breaks today, I typed up the WITL stories on my phone.

I find it intriguing to consider the phases we seem to go through with our dinner choices. I'd be the first to admit that my picky palate is (and always will be) the limiting factor when it comes to our culinary adventures. However, I'm proud that I have expanded my tastes in the last few years. Tilapia (see yesterday), sweet potatoes, and roasted broccoli are now regulars in our meal rotation.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week in the Life 2014: Day 1

"Those who tell the stories rule the world."
-Hopi American Indian proverb

Here is the story of Monday:

We returned home late last night from our annual Beach Ride weekend in Charleston. We dropped our luggage and headed straight to bed, knowing Monday morning would come soon. In addition to sandy, dirty laundry, and wonderful memories, both Rob and I brought back wickedly sunburned feet.

We're unpacking the suitcases as we go this morning. In the craziness of packing for our trip, we left the house in a whirlwind. There's a lot of tidying up that needs to be done in the upcoming days to make it livable again.

One of my most critical tasks at work is to keep the faculty in the loop about their responsibilities. In my first weeks on the job, I implemented a weekly email laying out the schedule and expectations for the week. It's usually one of my first to-do items on Monday morning, and if the faculty hasn't received by mid-day, they start emailing asking for it. This week the schedule is pretty straightforward: only labs on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, but they have no excuse to not to show up when and where they're needed.

Since my work is not as consistent or as time-consuming as it once was, I often use my downtime to work on other projects, including my freelance communications work for the church. Today my main freelance task was creating a new Google calendar for the church, linking it to the website and finishing the November newsletter.

Although I'm not strictly following the Brewer Pregnancy Diet, I try to keep the main guidelines in mind as I plan my meals for the day. Limiting my sugar intake, upping my proteins, and trying to squeeze in as many baked potatoes and eggs as possible. Packing my lunch and planning my daily snacks take the most effort, but make the biggest impact. If it's packed and ready to go, I'm much less likely to grab something unhealthy. What an aha moment it was a few weeks ago to realize that I could bake a potato in the microwave while at work! Today I've got gluten-free chicken fingers and a potato in my lunch bag, along with a single serving of my favorite Pirouline wafer cookies and a bag of mixed nuts for snacks.

I also went up to the church this afternoon to meet a new client, who has asked me if I could help him update the website for the lobbying association that he heads up. Usually I turn down projects like this, but something about this one had me intrigued. Mr. Hughes is an older gentleman with lots of personality... I hope that the project is as straightforward as it seems because I really enjoyed meeting him.

Grocery shopping is so much more effective and efficient if I go with a shopping list and meal plan in hand. I try to map out the meals for the week using Google calendar. I can see what I've made recently, easily store links to recipes, and can pull it up both on my phone or the laptop. I usually pull up a Google Calendar tab every Monday morning but often get distracted throughout the day and find myself scurrying around at 4:45 to organize a plan before I head to Ingle's.

Rob texted me in the middle of the day, asking if we could just chill tonight. Thinking of all the things on my to-do list, I replied, "yeah, that and grocery shop and laundry and..." Lucky for me (not so lucky for him), Rob didn't get home until 7:00. This have me a chance to start the laundry, put away the suitcase, and create/send an invoice before cooking dinner and settling on the couch for a movie. Sure, there are still dishes in the sink and mile-high piles on the breakfast table, but these moments together are the ones to cherish.

Week in the Life 2014

"Our days are built with stories."
-Ali Edwards

I knew Ali Edwards' annual Week in the Life project was quickly approaching, but I hadn't decided whether I would participate this year. As usual, I was on the fence about committing to yet another project in the midst of the many that I'm already juggling.

However, after her inspiring post last week, "Our Days are Built With Stories," I knew I was all in. I'm sure I will be referring back to this post for inspiration for other projects, but I couldn't miss the opportunity this week to record my stories.

This will be my third time to tackle the Week in the Life challenge [also in 2010 and 2012]. Since I seem to be working in a two-year cycle, documenting life in 2014 seems to make sense. It's amazing to look back to consider what has remained constant and what has changed even in this short four-year time frame. For example, my job situation is completely different in each of these years, but I'm guessing that my breakfast choices this year will be identical to previous years.

With the arrival of Baby B on the horizon, this will be one of the last opportunities I have to tell the stories of my life, pre-kids. I am eager to capture the rhythm and routine of my days right now.

In 2010 I focused on the photos; in 2012 I focused on the timeline. And, like Ali, this year I'm focused on the stories. The hows and the whys as much as the whats and the whens. I don't know yet what that means for the final album... what medium or what layout will be the best way to make the stories sing. But, I'll cross that road when I get to it... this week, I'm carrying my dSLR, reaching for my iPhone camera, jotting down notes on scraps of paper, and fleshing out stories in an Evernote document.

Can't wait to see what the week holds!

If you are looking for inspiration on how to capture your own Week in the Life, check out these awesome posts:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nursery paint colors

"I love you beyond paint, beyond melodies, beyond words. And I hope you will always feel that, even when I'm not around to tell you so.”
-Kiera Cass

Most of the rooms in our house are still painted the oh-so-love shade of "builder khaki"... including the nursery. But as we fix up Baby B's room, a fresh coat of paint is top of the to-do list.

I'm leaning towards a gray, hoping that the teal, coral and citron will really pop! I mocked up a few of my favorite colors... to see how dark we can go!

What do you think?
Wall color is Olympic Secret Passage
Wall color is Valspar Gray Plank
Wall color is Valspar Pewter

Knowing that Rob is training for his annual bicycle ride to the beach (this Friday!!), I didn't expect that we would start any of this big project until after that. However, he got a wild hair this weekend. We were able to clear out the room and put some sample paint up on the walls to consider.

Now we just have to decide...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Nursery progress... part 1

"Every baby needs a lap."
-Henry Robin

When we left off in the nursery, I was debating what fabric choices and color scheme to move forward with. Would it be the modern woodland theme or the graphic feather theme?

After exploring and brainstorming about each option, I just went with my gut and the choice that seemed to best match the decorating style that I had in mind. A quick look at my pins on Pinterest, and I knew that bold and graphic was the way to go.

So... feathers it is!!

Click here to see fabric sources
Ever since we moved into this house, we knew that the small bedroom in the corner of the second floor would be the nursery, if and when we needed it. In fact, while babies were still far on the horizon, Rob and I compromised on calling this room, "The B.R." ... which stood for both "bonus room" and "baby room."

I've also joked that this is the room where furniture goes to die. As we phased out furniture from our college and apartment days, we moved it in here, hoping we would find someone who could revive it. Futons, chairs, entertainment centers, side tables, rugs... it was all stacked up in here. We knew we had a bit of decluttering to do before we could fit a baby in here as well.

When Mama came to visit at Labor Day, I knew this would might be only chance to have her sewing expertise on location before Baby B was born. We made the most of our four days together, making multiple trips to multiple fabric stores, squeezing in a dash around IKEA, and sewing up a storm. She also posted about our adventures over at Mommy's Treasures.

During our time together, we were able to make amazing progress on the window-side of the nursery (the other half is still piled high with furniture!) Here's what we accomplished:
  • Sewed and hung a window valance
  • Assembled three Kallax cube shelves
  • Rearranged furniture and moved my grandmother's rocking chair from the guest room
  • Upcycled a cushion that we had made a couple of years ago into a window seat cushion
  • Made throw pillows galore
  • Sewed several fitted crib sheets in coordinating fabrics
  • Planned to make fitted covers for the changing table pad (once I can measure it)
  • Failed at making a Boppy pillow cover... decided it's worth it just to buy that!
  • Made and stuffed (with a lot of effort) an ottoman

I'm so excited by the progress we made! This is now my favorite room in the house! Now if I can just motivate Rob to help me clean up the rest of the room, order a crib, and paint the walls, then we'll be in business. I'll keep you posted...

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