Monday, December 28, 2009

Riding on Bodas

If you read my account on riding bodas in Kampala, you probably had some idea of what is was like created in your head... but here is what is was really like:

video

The Story of Baby Lokute

I met Tamara and Jeremy about 1 1/2 weeks before I was due to go home. They work in the village of Masese 3 (more on Masese another time), right on the outskirts of downtown Jinja. We were introduced to them because they have been planning on doing some health teaching with members of the village church so that those people can go out into the villages and teach the village members how to care for themselves. When they found out Andrea and I were nurses, they asked if we would be willing to teach a class. So, that is how we met the wonderful Tamara and Jeremy, who's introduction radically shook up our last 2 weeks in Uganda.



Just a few days after we met, I got a call from Tamara that went something like this:
"Um, we're in Masese right now at some one's hut, and she just gave birth to a very premature baby. It still has hair on it's face. What should we do?"
"How is his breathing?"
"Hold on, it's dark in here. Let me go outside."
"Do you want us to just come?"
"Yes! We'll pick you up in 15 minutes."

So out we drove to Masese where we went into a dark mud hut. Using my phone for light, I peeled back the blankets and saw this tiny boy...



His breath and his heart was slow. We couldn't even get a temperature reading on his body. We quickly realized we were going to need to take him to the hospital. So off we drove with mom and baby to Al Shafa Modern Medical Center in Jinja where the doctor listened to the babies heart for all of 2 seconds and then declared, "He's premature!" Thank you very much. I couldn't tell. Nobody took his temperature (which was 32 C... normal is 37C). Nobody checked his breathing. They just sent us into this room to care for him. He was laid on the yellow blanket and warmed by a space heater because the only incubator in Jinja was broken, though it turned out that this place was better than Jinja Hospital where they would have warmed him over a charcoal fire.



By some miracle of God, the nurse was able to start an IV of this babies tiny hand and started oxygen, which was flowing out of an adult size nasal cannula that we had to just hold by his face. And we had no idea how much oxygen we were giving him because the gauge on the tank didn't work. After we settled in and got everything set up, baby Lokute's breathing slowed to the point that we were contemplating doing CPR. I quickly rushed over to Amani (the baby home I worked at last year) to pick up some supplies, because they are very well stocked. I grabbed a baby oxygen mask, tiny hats, clothes, blankets... anything I could think of since Al Shafa had nothing. Of course, in the process of trying to retrieve these things I managed to fall off a large box and crash into the shelves of medicine, leaving a very large bruise on my butt.

By the time I got back, Lokute had improved and we equipped him with his new equipment. Tamara and Jeremy ordered pizza because none of us had eaten dinner yet. We ate it off this table....



You should have heard the laughter when we all suddenly stopped and realized where we were eating. Jeremy stood there with his elbow propped up on a stirrup munching his pizza. The next morning I laid across it eating my muffin. I bet none of you have ever eaten dinner off a birthing table. :)

We spent that night in the birthing room watching over baby Lokute, because in Uganda, nobody help you in the hospital. All night, the nurses didn't come in once to check on the baby. So Andrea and I took shifts, leaning over Lokute, watching his check move up and down, checking his temperature, making sure he was still alive. That night I didn't sleep at all. I lay on a mat on the floor for a while, but not once did I fall asleep.

By morning, Lokute was doing better. He began to suck and had his first real meal. And so we left the hospital at 7am, leaving Lokute and his mom, under the watchful eye of our friend Emma, and drove to Masese where we were due to teach our medical class that morning. And trust me, you would have loved to have sat in on that class... but that's a story for another time!









Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I made it home. Survived the trip with Monica. Lots of new pictures up on facebook and more posts to come soon.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Delivered a baby last night... no big deal.

And monica and I leave this afternoon. Have all the papers... so we're a go!

good-bye uganda. i shall miss you terribly. i will be back again soon.
(P.S. I'm coming home at your request Elise, otherwise I might have had to stay)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In the past 6 days I have....

- Stayed up all night watching a preemie baby breathe
- Slept on the floor of a delivery room
- Eaten pizza off the birthing table (stirrups and all)
- Taught a 5 hour class after a night of no sleep
- Created fake wounds on 25 Africans
- Made some fantastic new friends
- Named a baby

Full story and pictures to come.

I return home in 3 days. We find out today if I'm for sure bringing Monica back with me (still waiting on the visa).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Going out to Masese tomorrow to teach about some basic health care in the village.

Buying a death trap of a stoller for Monica's journey back!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

As much as I love being in Jinja, it makes for pretty boring blog posts. There isn't much adventure or drama here. The days are slow. The kids are great. The other day the main event involved walking into town with the boys for a cinnamon role at Ozzie's (my fave place in town)... life here revolves around food for those of us non-Ugandans. All we talk about is food... what we want to eat, where we can eat, when we should eat. I have a bruise the size of half dollar on my shin. My feet are dirty. I'm hot and sweaty. I'm tired. It's only 2pm and I'm already looking forward to going to bed. My hair is a mess. I have to go to the bathroom (I could write a whole post about that, but it might not be appropriate for here). That's about it. Welcome to my life.

Tomorrow I'm going out to Masesee (I don't think that's how you actually spell it). It's a slum in Jinja. We're going to try and bring a baby to our home. His sister came to us about 1 month ago and she was extremely malnourished and sick. She's probably about 5, but can't walk and has arms and legs that are like toothpicks. She has a brand new baby brother who is apparently very tiny and also most likely HIV+. More on that after tomorrow.

Yesterday I went to meet with Kym, the woman who is overseeing Monica's paperwork in Uganda. By the end of the week we should have all the papers and the visa, which will make it a go to bring her home. All looks good right now and assuming everything works out, the two of us will be flying home in 2 weeks.

When I get back and can post my pictures... I promise I'll write more about my trip.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another quick one... just want to say I'm in Jinja working at Our Home. Love it here. So fantastic. Love the kids. Love the town. Love it!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just a quick update for today....

We got to Jinja on Saturday and are moving over to Holly's home today. We'll be working there for the next 3 weeks. It's an AIDS orphanage for children birth - 18. We get to visit Amani whenever we want, which is fantastic. I've been able to see my Gifty girl and spend time with Monica (the little girl I'm bringing back with me). Being back in Jinja is so good. I love this place!

Well, I have to pass the computer off to Andrea, so no exciting updates from me. Sorry!

P.S. I found out I won 2nd prize in a photo contest with fujifilm! Sadly, I can't claim the prize because I'm in Uganda and can't do the paperwork.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Right Now

I just went to the bathroom with 2 chickens watching me. There is a man hacking up a loogie into a garbage pile in front of me. There's a half eaten lizard lying on the porch. Chicken poo is on my foot. An old truck is making it's way up the bumpy dirt road. A small child just walked by, waved, and called "By-ye" to me. The man and his son are picking trash out of the garbage pile to take home with them. And I am surrounded by beautiful trees and can hear birds calling in the distance.

Some things about this place i hate

The children are dressed in rags, except when they put on their fancy clothes to take pictures to send to their sponsors. The staff just spent almost $1,000 on a phone purchased in an airport and a ridiculously nice camera that they don't know how to use yet they can't afford to feed the children anything more than posho and beans. They recently built a door between the office and the kids area and keep it locked so the staff never interact with the kids. There's almost no superversion, except by Auntie, but she can't watch 32 kids on her own. Nobody cares when a kid is sick and they put a 19 year old in charge of medicines.

Some things about this place i love

The kids are sweet and loving and they always want to help you (though their help is often not very helpful). They're snuggly and well-behaved some of the time. I'm in Uganda, which is always a plus. Hmmm... there's a lot less that I love about this place. I have to say, I can't wait to go back to Jinja tomorrow.

A Note on Monica

I believe it's now official that I will be bringing back 2 year old Monica from Uganda where her adoptive mother will meet me in San Francisco. We will be traveling for 30 hours, 2 plane rides, and an 8 hour layover together. It shall be an exciting adventure!

Things I'm going to eat when I get home...
Tacos
Broccoli
Pizza
Milk
Pie
Mashed Potatos with sour cream and garlic chives
Chips
Anything that has some texture and crunch to it!

A few more pictures because I actually have access to the internet and it is working fairly well....



A few pictures...




When it rains, it pours

It rains. A lot. Almost every day. And always when I am out. The other day I stood pressed up against a wall under a tiny tin roof overhang trying to avoid the torretial downpour that occured as soon as I was as far away from shelter as possible. I waded ankle deep in muddy water across the busy Kampala street, trying not to be run over or to think of the many diseases I was probably catching. Drivers actually stopped their cars to let me cross. I think the sight of the skinny, dripping wet, gastly white Mzungu bouncing down the street through the flooded streets was enough to stop them in their tracks. What a sight I was.

Last week while picking up the littler kids from school, the rains came. It started as just a trickle, then harder, until we were soaking wet. Picture me running down a dirt road with 4 little Ugandan girls with their sweaters pulled up over their heads. Lifting them up and over rivers of water onto safe ground. Running onto the porches of strangers to avoid those few extra raindrops. This is my life here.

Dinner for how many?

Tonight I made dinner. For 32 children and 4 adults. That is a lot of food! Now try doing it outside, under a tin roof, over a fire. Yes, I succeeded and managed to produce a fantasticly delicious vegetable fried rice. I even was honored with a dance by Juliet (one of the girls). It was her "Balanced Diet, I'm Full" dance. Oh, and did I mention there was no power? That's right. This was all done in the dark with only the help of my head lamp which hung from a post.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Few Short Stories...

Even the soap in Uganda is dirty

This is a country that, no matter how hard you try, will remain dirty. The flies will always come back, even when you scrub everything with bleach. So will the smell of pee. The children will always have snot running out of their noses. Your clothes will smell like feet, even though you just washed them. Even the soap has dirt on it. Your feet will be covered in mud, even though you washed them 5 minutes ago and your hair will always be slimy. It’s impossible to dry your hands and if you have toilet paper, you’re lucky. Approximately every 2.6 minutes, a child will cough/sneeze in your face. And just try and find something to blow your nose into. Your bed will be dusty and your socks will be red like clay. It doesn’t matter if you wash the bathroom floor. There will be footprints all over it within the hour. If your fingernails get clean it’s a miracle and don’t even try to clean your toes. Don’t be surprised if you step in the mud, it won’t be the only time. If your skirt gets dirty while your trying to wash your clothes or a kid runs off with your sock, just take a deep breath. If you drop your fork in the dirt, just pick it up and keep using it. The flies on your food will never go away, so don’t bother shooing them. And just remember, when you leave Uganda, the dirt will wash off, though I wouldn’t mind if a little of it stayed on.

Riding on Bodas* with boys
Climb on a boda and pray they don’t crash. If they’re wearing a reflective vest and a helmet, you can hope they drive a little safer. Never trust that they know where you want to go when you ask and they hesitate before saying yes. They don’t know. Keep your knees in close and your arms crossed in front if you don’t want to lose them. If the driver asks if you have a boyfriend, tell him you’re married. Close your eyes when the cars get to close or you might scream and scare the boda man. Always bargain. It is not 5,000 shillings to the taxi park. It’s 3,000. Yes, I know the price, so don’t try and mess with me. I’ll just pick a different boda. It’s OK to have a terrified look on your face as you weave in and out of traffic. I think it keeps the other drivers from hitting you. And always, always, hold on tight.

*Bodas are motorcycles you can hire for transport

How to cross an Intersection

One might think that crossing the street is a relatively easy thing to do. If you’re from Chicago, you just jump in front of the cars and pray they stop. In California, they stop because they want to. Here, they don’t stop. They’ll just hit you. Apparently Uganda has never heard of a stop sign. Look to your right, not your left, before you cross or else your friend will have to rescue you from being run over. Come to an intersection and you’ll find a mass of cars coming from all directions, pressed up against each other. If you want to cross, you have to walk through them. Of course, they inch up every so often. So if you want to pass it’s helpful to put your hand on the hood of the car and look horrified. It takes a while to weave in and out of the cars. People are pushing. Horns are honking. Cars are moving. People are yelling. Up and down the street you go until you make it to the other side. And don’t forget to watch your toes! Try not to get pulled into a taxi, because everyone wants you to choose theirs. And look where you’re stepping or you could fall in a hole.

So, um, you maybe sort of want a taxi to, hmmm, how much? What?

If you want to go somewhere, don’t ask a Ugandan to take you. It will take you twice as long and you’ll never know where you’re going. Before you make it out of the driveway you’ll probably fall into a mud puddle and have to go back to wash your foot. Did you forget to mention we weren’t driving? Walk to the main road and ask a boda driver how much to the hospital. It’s perfectly acceptable to hum and hah for 10 minutes and ask a few other people. Oh yah, and by the way… our appointment started 2 minutes ago. Why are we just leaving? We had to eat lunch of course! Walk to the next road because I guess we’re taking a taxi now. Climb in and try and find a seat. You’ll find at least 14 other people in the back. Stop! Stop! We want to get off! How the heck to you tell them that? Don’t get hit by a boda when you cross the street to get a private taxi. Get in the front. Both of you. How many people can we stuff in the back? Four. Wow. There’s no place for my legs. Out the window maybe? How about on top of yours? Can you breathe? Please don’t run over the goat. That bull is looking at me funny.


Auntie, you see?

You see? You see? Yes Allen, I see that you put your shoe on. Yes Gift, I see that you are dry. Yes Anisha, I see your finger. Yes Allen, I see that you put your other shoe on. You see? You see? Yes Bridget, I see the marker. Yes Enock, I can see your picture. Yes, I still see it. I have seen it. Four times. Yes Freda, I can see. Do you see me seeing? Yes Sandra, I see what Bridget is doing. Yes Linda, I see what Bridget is doing. I am looking. Auntie, you see? Yes Allen, I see that your sweater is on. I see your picture, I see your shoe, I see you pants, I see the cat. I see what you’re doing, I have seen, I am seeing. Do you see me seeing?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

P.S. Commenting is now possible for those who do not have a blogger account. :)

Donating Money

I was informed that a few people are interested in donating money. If you are, what I would now recommend is that you send money to my mom, who can put it my account, and I will then withdraw it here and purchase things that are needed at the home. I currently do not trust the management here to use the money wisely. It also is expensive to send donated items, so if you want something specific to be purchased, let me know and I can do that.
A few more items to add to the need list:
- food
- sheets
- medicine cabinet locks

Address to:
Marjorie Recotta
Make check to me
1517 St. Francis Way
San Carlos, CA 94070

I will be at this home for another week and a half, so if donations are to be made, please try and do it before then. Also, if you do send money, please e-mail me at jrecotta@yahoo.com or jenrecotta@gmail.com and let me know the amount and if there's a specific use you want for it.

Thanks!!

Will try and post more about my time here soon!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I just have a minute to write because I'm waiting for a bus to head back to Kampala. I spent the weekend in Jinja and got to visit Amani. It was so great getting to see all the kids and friends there. I got to see my Gift (for those who don't know, she is the love of my life whom I would adopt in a second if I could). She is so big, running and talking and still with the same sweet face. Jinja felt like home and I'm eager to leave Kampala and stay in Jinja.

The computer at the home in Kampala has broken, so don't expect updates often. I'll do my best though. I'll try and write down my adventures so I can post them later

Pray for Monica and her family as they finish up the adoption process and see if they can make it work for me to bring her home to them.

P.S. Remind me to make you a Rolex when I get home. I shall have mastered it this time and you will all be amazed!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Life at Another Hope

I have finally made it back to the computer. I was left the computer this evening to work on things for our nursing project, unfortunately all the other volunteers had planned to go out tonight and that left andrea and i the only caretakers of all 34 children. We had 8(ish) little ones to bathe, dress, feed, entertain, brush teeth, and put to bed. Exhausting! Especially when they're all wild with pent-up energy and need a good, long run. The space here is not very large and there are no toys for them to play with, so they spend a lot of time picking up rubbish from the ground and either eating it or using it as a toy. It's a constant attempt at conflict resolution between children who are often beating on each other, which is nearly impossible as there is really no system of discipline here. I'm constantly dragging kids off to the "naughty corner," which is not enforced by many here. I think I'm the strongest of disciplinarians here (though those of you who know me well know I'm always like that).

Tomorrow we're doing a teaching on teeth brushing and then one on basic hygiene and hand washing next week. We have SO much to do for this project we're working on. We've thus far only managed to organize the medicine cupboard and catalog what we have. We still have to make a medication guide for all the drugs, develop a charting system and medication administration system, work on cleanliness, menus, child development (ie: toys and such things), and probably lots of other things we haven't even thought of yet.

I got an e-mail today from Judy (who is currently working at Amani and was there last year when I was there) asking if I would consider bringing one of the children from Amani (Monica) back to the states with me when I fly. She's in the process of being adopted, but her family cannot afford the cost of tickets to and from Uganda for them and Monica. I will be talking with Judy this weekend and probably hearing from the family soon. We shall see. I'd be really excited to get to do that, but it would also be a long grueling trip. It would consist of 9 hours on a night flight from Uganda to London, 12 hours in London, and another 10 hour flight back to San Francisco. With a 2 year-old. Who is blind.

If any of you are interested in contributing to this home, there are a lot of things we need to help get our new health care system in place. Here is a list of the things I can think of now:
- bath towels
- clothes for children 3 - 19 yrs.
- toys
- Sheets and blankets
- Chewable vitamins
- Medical supplies (band-aids, gauze, medicine cups, and lots more!)
If anyone feels like donating anything, you can let me know and I can help you figure out how to get it here. I also might be sending a package of stuff over upon my return.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Welcome to Uganda

I arrived in Uganda a few days ago, was greeted by three enthusiastic Ugandans with a sign with my name on it, and promptly hoped into the car to make the hour journey to Another Hope. The moment I got in the car, I noticed the gas light was lit up. We continued to bounce along the road, swerving to miss oncoming traffic and pedestrians, creating major panick for me (both in relation to the dwindling gas and the possibility of running someone down).

Although internet is available, it's hard to get time to use it and the computer is not often available, so I shall give a very brief description of my time here for now (perhaps another time I will be able to fully share of the happenings here as they are also enternaining).

(see.. I was just called off the show some kids how to do the 'Down by the banks' game, but I'm back again)

So, things that have happened so far...
- On the car ride to pick up my friend Andrea from the airport, which set off about 1 1/2 hours later than planned, I was informed that we are to create an entire health care system for the orphanage. Suprise!
- I've hauled homeade bricks, ended up red from head to toe from the dirt, and been informed by children that I am dirty.
- I have showerd in a bucket.
- Been followed down the road by Ugandan children who continued to say "hey girl!" [must be said with a teenage girl accent, though the children were only about 7].
- Woken to the sounds of wooden spoons echoeing inside large tin pots and hacking children... at 5am.
- Been unclear as to whether people are speaking English or Lugandan to me.
- Read stories to a little boy who promptly peed on my lap.
- Eaten posho.
- Walked down the middle of the busy Kampala road between a mass of taxi vans all while trying not to be run over, which was very likely several times.
- Ridden in a matato (a taxi van) with 14 other people.
- Been asked if I know Obama.
- Been sneezed on. Coughed on. Drooled on. Peed on.

The list goes on and on and I wish I had time to fully write out my stories, because they are in fact all hysterical. Perhaps one day soon.

This weekend we have hopes of returning to Jinja to visit the kids that we know there!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Un pomme?

The last couple days I've been exploring on my own while Elise is at work. The first day I clung to my camera, hoping it made it obvious that I was a tourist and did not in fact speak French. Today, I ventured out camera free and went into a few shops to explore. I even purchased an apple pastery.

The pastery conversation went a little like this:
Shop Owner: Bonjour!
Me: Bonjour. Um.... I don't speak any French.
SO: something in French
Me: pointing to the pastery I wanted. Pum? (pomme is apple in french... i remember how to say it because it rhymes with bum)
SO: something else in French?
Me: Oui. [hopefully giving correct amount of money]
SO: Merci
Me: Merci
SO: Bye!

Typically my French conversations involve a lot of pointing and face-making, as my French vocabulary consists of very few words, most of which I can hardly pronounce. This is what I can say: Hello. Thank you very much. Good-bye. Yes. No. My dog. You are stupid. The petite whale. All in all, these are not particularly useful phrases.
Well, off I go again to explore Chambery... once again with camera in hand.
Here are a few more pictures.... part of my window series:


Thursday, November 5, 2009

And then it rained...

I left San Francisco on Thursday evening after downing my last American food in a nearby parking lot (it consisted of a burrito from my favorite local Mexican restaurant - La Cumbre - in San Mateo... you should go there if you've never been!). I managed to sleep most of the flight, with the aid of ear plugs, an eye mask (provided by the airline!), a neck pillow, a sweatshirt, a blanket, and a few sleeping pills. I arrived in London Friday afternoon with exactly one hour between when my flight was due to land and when my connecting flight was to leave. I have no idea what time we actually landed or how long it took me to get off the plane, but the combination of that and the fact that I had to walk down a series of hallways that were probably a 1/2 mile long, take 3 escalators, go through customs, and go through security again... I missed my flight. I then had to wait upwards of 4 hours for another flight, which didn't get me to France until 10:30pm, which meant that Elise and I missed to last bus to Chambery where she lives, which then meant we had to sleep in the airport.

After a sleepless night on a cafe bench tied to my suitcase, we took a hour bus ride to Chambery where it was freezing and rainy. The next day we took a bus to Torino, Italy where we spend 2 1/2 days. Of course, the weather was terrible and we couldn't see the supposed gorgeous mountains surrounding the town. We had a nice time exploring and me taking pictures of everything and saw some cool buildings. We had lots of pizza, ate gelato, were given free drinks by a man named Jean Franco who offered to take us to the mountains, didn't pay for bus tickets, went to a market and talked to some sweet older women who tried to teach us Italian (which I am way better at than French), drank a whole bottle of wine in our hostel while being serenaded by the man in the shower next door, wandered around with only 4 euros looking for food, ate lunch at a restaurant that only took cash (oops!), saw lots of dogs in sweaters, and then went home on a train filled with children hacking up all sorts of germs.

Then, I tried to go to Paris but something happened in the midst of buying my train ticket and it was lost. So here I am, still in Chambery, eating my baguette.


Italy Pictures: click to see large
France Pictures: Also click to see large

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What could be better than traveling 2,500 miles to have these sweet arms thrown around your neck and that little 2-year old voice saying, "I love you Jenny. I'm glad you came."
And this sweet little face leaving slobbery kisses all over you?



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Moving on

Next week I will be packing up my car and my rabbit and I will be driving cross country, home to california. Part of me is glad to by out of Chicago and the city, but there are people and things here that I will miss. Like being able to ride my bike everywhere and walk down the street to school, to be able to drop in and visit the wise U-min staff, to be able to drive and hour and see my two favorite little girls. I will miss those things. But at home I will have a job and a free place to live and fanstic farmers markets and good friends and the ocean and the trees. And it will be good. And then off to France and Uganda!

This week I got to spend another two days with the girls... potty training (not too successful). I shall miss them terribly.

Me and my Lucy bug



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I spent the last 2 days reveling in the hugs and kisses of 2 year old Langsea and the wet licks and huge smiles of little Lucy. How fantastic it is the spend time with children!



Beautiful Langsea Goose


Sweet Lucy Bug

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A few days ago we had the most magnificant storm. It poured buckets and there was thunder and lightening and hail. After a lull in the storm it picked up again and as a ran through the house shutting all the windows I hit a puddle of water in the darkened living room in front of the porch door, slipped, flew up in the air, crashed into the screen door, and landed flat on my back. As I jumped up again I could see the sheets of water flying sideways onto the porch, where all of my delicate plants were precariously sitting on the ledge. I spent the next 15 minutes running in and out of the house dragging wet plants into the living room and the sheets of water pelted my body. I was soaked down to my underpants with in minutes. Quite a night!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Back to Africa?

My dear friend Andrea (who is from Australia but I met her in Africa) is maybe going back to Africa for November/December. I've been wanting to go back but things haven't fallen into place. Now, however, it looks like I might be able to go back with her.... and spend some time in Paris on the way there. This, however, means I will not be getting a real job until at least February. Wise? I don't know. Exciting? Yes!!

A few pictures from the past week:

Elise and David

Niagra Falls

Botanical Gardens

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Just got back from 5 wonderful days in Colorado with my best friend. A great way to start life as a "real" adult. :)

I got a new lense for my camera and so we took over 700 pictures...


Including some "Save the Date" pictures...


We tried on some bridesmaid's dresses and wedding dresses (sorry... can't show you the wedding dress)...


And then took a million more pictures of everything we saw...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I am officially a graduate of North Park University. All classes passed, all exams completed. WooHoo! And now the studying for the NCLEX begins.

Here are a few pictures from the big day...



Me and my lovely honored guest at the pinning ceremony...


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I am officially done with nursing school! I passed my comprehensive exam (and it told me I have a 97% chance of passing boards). I somehow managed to pass all my classes... not sure how that happened. I don't have to be harrassed by these guys anymore...



And I'm staying here... and that makes me happy. I get to enjoy a Chicago summer and spend time with friends who are staying here and I don't have to say good-bye to my friends who are still in school. And I can enjoy life before I have to get a real job and work real hours.

And I get to visit Elise in Colorado and go to NY for Eric and Alanna's wedding and go to Wisconsin to stay with Judy.

And I can finally take a deep breath and relax!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One more nursing exam to go before graduation... and it's a big one. One I have to pass to graduate. I'm only a little freaked out. :{ Today was one of the last times I will be with my whole nursing class. And so I had some fun taking pictures of everyone as we celebrated the end.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring in full bloom...

Elise, this one's for you. :)





Spring has finally come so I went out with my camera today and took advantage of the fresh tulips and the rain drops on them. And I had a conversation with a random man on the street. And I took pictures of our neighborhood and the people in it (hard to do discreetly!). Today has been lovely.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I just wanted to show off my favorite girl a little bit more...







I'm learning a lot about love from this little girl. When I'm with her I understand complete and true love... that feeling where you'd do absolutely anything to make someone happy or to protect them. I love the age she is right now. I love playing with her and snuggling and hearing "jeenee" called out. But I also can't wait for her to be older... To be able to talk to her about life and take her out for coffee and just love on her. Sometimes I'm amazed at how much I love this little girl and I wonder how much more my love will be for my own children.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Love is...

Love is laying on the floor and staring at the 'stars' and 'clouds' on the ceiling and pretending that you are flying.

Love is holding tiny Lucy in my arms.

Love is reading books about bumble bees.

Love is pretending to eat a plastic pea to make my girl laugh.

Love is kissing hurts to make them better.

Love is arms reaching for you.

Love is knowing how to shake the gas away.

Love is hearing your name called from across the house.

Love is eating a slobbery cookie.

Love is slaying imaginary dragons under the stairs.

Love is splashing in the drinking fountain.

Love is offering your finger because it's way better than a pacifier.

Love is fits of hysterical laughter.

Love is...


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I took advantage of the sun the other day and went out into the neighborhood to take a few pictures...





And of course, Jonas was the subject of some shots too...

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