Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm bonafide

It finally happened.  We all knew it was bound to really.  I have a new love in my life.  It doesn't mean the old loves have gone away, I have just expanded my heart to encompass this new love as well.  I guess it's best to just put all out there.  I, Anne Claire Dugas, am finally, officially, a bonafide deer hunter.

Not what you were expecting, huh?

Yes, I have a new hobby and one that I thoroughly enjoy.  This may come as a shock to some of you who can remember back in January of 2009...the year that Josh proposed to me in the deer stand. I couldn't figure out the reasoning behind that and why he thought it was such a marvelous place.  Now I know.
Last year, towards the end of hunting season, I decided I might kind of like going hunting...I didn't get the opportunity often and I had no desire to actually kill an animal, but I liked going.

This year, something changed.  Suddenly, I was dying to get out in the woods.  I was picking out camo gear for myself at all the stores.  I was begging Josh to buy me my own riffle.  What happened to me?  I don't know what is was, but it is a change of heart that I am embracing.  Now I jump at any chance to get into the woods.  I mean think about it...it is amazingly silent in the deer stand.  I bring my Nook and I slip away into reader's heaven as I absorb myself in whatever it is I am reading.  Josh goes on deer patrol.  When the sun starts to drop he nudges me that it's time to put my Nook down since the light is starting to show from the screen.  Then I go on deer patrol with him.  We just sit in silence, exchange glances, and I try not to talk and shift in my seat.  I decided that this would be the year that I would kill a deer.

The first day of the season we were in the woods.  I had given up hope of seeing anything because Josh and I had been so loud talking away (and also because I wore deodorant and apparently arming yourself with human scents is frowned upon in the hunting world).  So ok if me wearing deodorant meant no deer in our vicinty that was just a chance we were going to have to take because this girl wears her D.O!  Despite my smells and our whispers, a deer came out for us on that faithful day.  I spotted it just as it was getting dark.  Josh shot because let's all face it, I was not prepared.  My first riffle lesson two days before ended up with me holding the gun with my eye to the scope crying because I was too afraid to pull the trigger.  Epic fail.  So Josh shot, and the deer ran.  That's when the real fun started.  Tracking...another one of my new favorite things to do.  We followed the blood trail all through the woods.  Apparently, I was suppose to be the one who actually stood by the blood while Josh found the next spot of blood so we didn't lose our trail.  I was too excited for all that, so I just went  galavanting through the woods until we came across OUR deer...that was kind of frowned upon too.  So we had our first deer, and I got some claim to her since I spotted her in the woods.

That's when I decided the next deer was all mine.  I guess there is some sort of unspoken rule that you have to be able to actual shoot a riffle before anyone will let you shoot at a deer.  Ok, fine...so I shot skeet.  And I shot skeet well if I do say so myself!  I was ready for that deer!

So we hunted and hunted and hunted...nothing.  We went to my dad's for Thanksgiving and visited his hunting camp for a Thanksgiving day hunt.  I kind of made up my mind when we got in the stand that we wouldn't see anything.  We weren't quiet in the least bit.  Josh decided it was too hot for his coveralls so he delayered.  I dropped my nook twice.  We were loud.  We watched and watched and we saw nothing.  Darkness started to fall, so Josh started gathering all of our gear so we could head out.  That's when MY deer stepped out into the clearing.  "Josh, Josh, Josh, give me the gun," was all I managed to croak out I think.  I do need to backtrack a little here.  During all of our prehunting teaching sessions Josh would always tell me that whenever a deer would stepped out in front of me that I would get really nervous.  I think he was warning me about how much adrenaline I would be running on.  I blew him off.  Whatever.  I am a nurse.  I save people's lives.  A deer won't make me nervous.  Now back to present day in the deer stand.  Deer steps out, I hyperventilate.  I was sooo nervous I could not get a deep breath.  Of course Josh had to be right about the whole nerves thing.  So I try to find the deer in my scope despite my trembling hands.  That's when I realize that this is no average deer.  This is a buck and a BIG one.  I whisper to Josh that he has to be atleast a 6 point and that maybe he should shoot.  He, first of all, can't see the deer from the angle he got himself into when he was packing up, and second assures me that this is my deer so I should shoot it.  Ok, he is in my scope; I still can't breath.  I try to hold my breath to steady the gun while I wait for him to turn broadside, but dangit I ran out of breath...this happen three times.  Finally, he turns just a little and looks like he is getting ready to run.  "It's now or never"...I can still hear the voice in my head saying that.  BOOM.  All I saw was a flash of red.  I hand the gun over to Josh and jump out of the deer stand.  But then there's Josh raining on my parade and making me walk so I don't "scare" the deer.  Whatever.  But I oblige.  I see my deer laying on the ground in almost the exact place where I shot him.  "Hmm hmmm hmm," I was thinking in my head, "my first deer, and he's a 6 point or bigger, and I dropped him...dang I'm good."  Josh gets to the deer first.  He looks at him and makes a bad noise.  Then he looks at me and says, "your 6 points is missing a few points".  What?  What does that mean?  A spike.  All my excitement deflated.  Josh's didn't though.

Josh was so excited and proud that nothing could touch him.  We called my dad and he came to get us and my deer on the four wheeler.  It was a little harder breaking the spike news to him, but after a little while he was still proud of me too for killing my first deer.  Those spikes did cost us a nice $100 fine, but Josh says the memories were worth way more than that.

It was one of the most exciting days of my life.  I killed my first deer.  I was on cloud nine.  Josh was so proud he was about to burst.  It was a day that we will never forget.

So now I guess I am bonafide.  I am a hunter.  I wear my camo with pride, and I look for any excuse to
get into the deer stand with my amazing husband.  A family that hunts together, stays together.

Our first deer of the season (the one I saw first :) )

MY first deer!

Blood faced and too excited to care!

The hunter and the proud husband!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

God works in strange ways

It's been awhile since I have blogged.  Sorry, life can kind of get in the way sometimes of what I would rather be doing.  To make amends, I have some news to share and I'll share it here first.  Ok well I did tell Josh already, and my parents, and my grandmothers, and every one at work, and everyone where I used to work, and a couple friends...let me rephrase that.  I have some news to share, and I share it here fourty-seventh.  Doesn't have quite the ummth I was looking for, but oh well let's just go with it.

These past two weeks have been filled with nervousness, anticipation, and spiritual growth.  But all of this actually started way back in August.  It was about three months ago when I decided that I am not really happy with where I am at work any more.  Don't get me wrong, I love what I do.  I love my patients and I love the people I work with.  But I don't feel fulfilled with my work life.  There are some days when I have to make really tough decisions and when I have to make judgement calls for the wellbeing of every one of my patients.  But then again there are days when my patients really aren't all that sick and they don't really need me to do anything more for them besides give them their medications and make sure they aren't in pain.  I had gotten to the point where I felt like I could do more, and I wanted to do something about it.  Besides that I am not happy with my schedule.  Working every other  weekend is hard. Working every other holiday is harder.  This year I have to work Christmas day.  I am sad enough thinking about having to leave Josh on our first married Christmas, I cannot imagine having to leave small children at home.

So I started exploring my options, trying to figure out what interested me. I had a couple offers to go work in the ICU or to go work at the cancer center.  I don't think the cancer center is where I want to be longterm.  I would love ICU, but the schedule there is the same as what I have here.  Finally, I decided that surgery may be the place for me.  More advanced, better hours, it sounded perfect.

So I applied in August when a job opportunity became available.  By September I met the new surgery nurse.  Disappointment.  But the job opportunity was never taken off the website.  I talked a friend from the office into calling for me to see what was going on.  There was still an opening but it wouldn't be for a while because they had to train the one they just hired first.  Ok. Fine. I can wait.

So I waited and waited and kind of gave up.  One day a few weeks ago I got phone call asking if I would like to go on an interview for the surgery position.  Of course I said yes very enthusiastically.  We played with interview days, and the only day that would work was my birthday.  Maybe it would be good luck...who knows but stress and nerves ruled my birthday...I could hardly eat cake.

The interview came and went.  I did my best but it was fast, and I was unsure of how I came across.  I found out that three other people interviewed.  Two of my friends from the same floor I work on and another person from within the hospital.  I kind of lost hope.

The days between the phone call and the interview and then again between the interview and when we found out who was hired were so tough.  I was stressed out.  This was a completely new thing for me.  I didn't know what to think.  I prayed about it so much on a daily and sometimes two or three times a day basis.  I don't know much about surgery and how the nursing process works down there.  I don't know if it is for me.  I don't know where I am suppose to be, but I knew I wanted something else.  Finally, I just gave it to God.  I asked God to take me where I was suppose to be.  If I wasn't suppose to be in surgery then I didn't want the position I told Him.  And I said if I don't get the position it will be ok, I'll just know surgery wasn't for meant for me.  That will be my sign.

Well, I am a little ashamed to say, but I may not have been completely honest with God.  I got my rejection email from surgery on Thursday saying someone else had been hired.  The good news was that my good friend from the floor did get the job, and I was so happy for her.  I was so happy for her, but at the same time I was so sad for me.  I cried on the way home from work.  Then I cried again when we were laying down for bed Thursday night.  I was mad at myself for being so upset, but at the same time I was upset that I didn't the job.  Bottom line, my feelings were hurt.  I took it personally, and I shouldn't have.

It took me the entire weekend to cope with the rejection.  I whined about it off and on whenever Josh and I were alone and I could really confide in him.  It just hurt to be turned down like that.  I had bounced back by Sunday though for the most part.  I accepted the rejection, and I was really excited for my friend.  I even went back to the old drawing board with my job hunt that night.  Obviously surgery wasn't for me.  That must be what God was telling me.

I looked around for quotes that comforted me and brought me hope.  My favorite was "Understand, God has you exactly where He wants you.  If you'll learn to be happy where you are, God will take you where you want to be.  He's promised He will give you the desires of your hearts."  I adopted it as my new motto and decided to live it.  God has gotten more through so much so far, I know he won't let me down now.  I just have to keep searching for where I am suppose to be.

Monday morning meant back to work.  Busy day but not terrible.  Lunchtime was definately a well welcomed and much needed break though.  I had a missed call and a voicemail on my phone.  I called back, and it was the surgery department.  She told me that after the interviews they decided to go with someone else.  Yes, yes, I know all this...I have just learned to accept it...do we have to go back and open old wounds.  She went on though.  After the interviews they decided to go with someone else, BUT they wanted to hire me too.  She was going to work on getting another position open and would call me in a couple days.

Yesterday I got the phone call, "you have been offered a position in the surgery department, do you accept?"  Like I would say no?  Of course I accept!

So it's official, a surgery nurse I will soon be!  I cannot wait to get started!  The only drawback is that since my friend from the floor also got the job that makes two of us leaving.  Then another one of my friends is going on maternity leave the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  My supervisor says we can't all three leave the floor on the same day, she won't have the staff to manage it.  So I'll have to stay on the floor a little while longer.  I think there still may be a possibillity that I could finish up on the floor around Thanksgiving, but more likely than not I will be working where I am until after Christmas.  I am disappointed to say the least, but how can I be upset with that one little setback after everything I have just been given.

The biggest lesson I learned out of all of this is that I should always put all my trust in God.  He knew what He was doing all along, He just needed me to believe in Him.  I know that whatever is suppose to happen will work out.  If I am suppose to go to surgery after Thanksgiving then He will work it out, if not maybe I need to stay on the floor until after Christmas for some reason that I don't know about or understand right now.  He is in control, and it will all work out just like it was suppose to all along.

I have been talking to a special friend about all of this from the beginning, she knew everything that had been going on.  She knew my desires to go, she knew my disappointment when I didn't get it.  I texted her yesterday with the news and all she said was "God works in strange ways". No truer words have been spoken.  God works in strange ways.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Mississippi Saturday Night

It's been six years.  Six years since the last time Josh and I went to a football game at our dear old alma mater.  Six years ago he was playing football for the Generals, leading the team, and a star on the field.  I was on the sidelines as a cheerleader, mainly just there to be closer to him.  Six years later we came back to that same field that we had stood on years before.  Things had changed and things had stayed exactly the same all at the same time.  We saw our old high school friends there.  We picked up some of the same conversations that I could swear we had six years ago.

Things were different too.  What really aged us was the way we identified people.  It wasn't anymore of who is this or who is that and how do I know them.  No, now we have come to a point in our lives where we were asking who is his mama and daddy, what do his parents do.  It was the sad realization that we are now old.  We are adults.  We work for a living, and we are done with that zero responsibility lifestyle.

It was the Homecoming game.  Sadly, the home team lost.  We laughed about what would have happened on that field six years ago.  We would get lost in moments envisioning what our Homecoming game was like six years ago.  And then we would snap back to reality.  We are happy, settled, thriving.  We wouldn't go back.  Ok, ok maybe we would trade in a day or two of work to go back to that carefree high school lifestyle, but we wouldn't let that change our present.

We spent the whole weekend last weekend in Mississippi.  Drove in late after I got off work Thursday night.  Talked the whole ride there over tacos about life and our thoughts and concerns.  Enjoyed Homecoming Friday.  Had the opportunity to visit with family and friends that we hadn't seen in ages.  Some things seem as if they haven't changed a bit.  Some people don't change.  Saturday night was my birthday dinner at our favorite hometown restaurant.  It is nice to go back where everyone knows your name.

After dinner was what we had been waiting for.  A late night four wheeler ride with friends.  It. Has. Been. Ages.  This fact was obvious when I forgot to pack appropriate clothing.  Let's just say midnight four wheeler ride in October + no socks = can hardly get my feet warm enough for hours after!  Despite freezing cold feet, it was bliss.  Three four wheelers, six friends, red dirt roads, and a star lit path...it took me back to a place that I miss.  At one point we all parked on a bridge and just sat and talked and enjoyed each other.  It was peaceful.  It was perfect.

The weekend ended much faster than seemed possible.  Typical.

We took it easy on the way home Sunday.  Drove slow, stopped where we wanted, had lunch with our favorite Brandon resident, and worked our way back down south.  The weekend in Mississippi...at home...was everything I hoped, everything I expected.  It was perfect.  My birthday weekend, and it was all the gift I needed.  Spending time with my husband at home, in our roots, back in the place that brought Josh and me together was surreal.  It reminded me how truly lucky I am to have him in my life.  And while we miss our roots and our friends so much, we were reminded how blessed we are in our life here in Louisiana.

You may not always end up where you thought you would be, but you will always end up where you were suppose to be...right where God intended you to be all along!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Fifth of October

Man.  A tough word to say when you are describing your "little" brother.  As much as I try to deny it, a man he truly is.

Twenty-two years.  For twenty-two years we have been bonded.  Siblings by birth, friends by choice.  And today the big day has come around again.  Happy birthday to my Jefie.  Happy birthday to my brother, to my friend.  Happy birthday to the one who has always been wise beyond his years.  Happy birthday to the one who has always been there for me, guided me, and laughed with me.

Happy birthday to one of the greatest men I know.





Twenty-two years seem like they have come and gone in the blink of the eye, but I wouldn't trade them for anything!  I can't wait to see what you make out of your next twenty-two years!
  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's all in His hands

In my short nine months as a nurse I have really seen a lot.  I have seen a lot of hard things happen to my patients, and I have been through a lot of hard times with my patients.  I try not to think of my patients as just sick people I am caring for over the next 12 hours.  No, to me that patient in room 9 is my Mimi or that patient down the hall is my little brother.  I try to do for all my patients what I would want done for me and my family if the situation were reversed.  They call it compassion I guess.  I call it "will get you in trouble real fast".  It's a hospital..people are sick..things happen..and it is very hard to see bad things happen to people you feel close to.  I have seen people get devastating diagnoses, and I have seen the toll it takes on their families.  I have seen people come so close to death and have been their to help save their life.  And I have seen people be taken to Heaven no matter how hard we tried to keep them here.  The first time I saw a patient, someone who I felt close to, die in front of me was a day that no matter how hard I try I can never forget.  It is a day that I still replay in my head over and over.  It is a day that I walked out of a room and cried in the middle of the hall of the hospital.  It is a day that I cannot forget.  Until now, that day was the worst day of my nursing career so far.

Sadly I have had a new worst day of my nursing career.  Except this time it didn't involve my patient.  In fact, I wasn't even at work that day.  I was sitting at home agonizing over something vain and insignificant in the greater scheme of things when my phone rang.  It had just happened and already the news was spreading fast.  Baby Charlotte Rae Lyon, born just two days ago by one of my best friends, was being airlifted to a children's hospital.  Ok, sometimes hospitals do that in haste I'm sure, I tried not to worry.  I had a million things to do, but I just sat...waiting on more information and praying for whatever was going on.  The news kept getting worse and worse.  "She has hypoplastic left heart syndrome, in other words the left side of her heart isn't working.  She may be a candidate for a series of open heart surgeries in order to fix the problem. Just pray. Surgery is not an option, our only hope is a heart transplant.  We know this wont' be easy to find, all we can do is keep her comfortable. Just pray.  Pray, pray, pray, and pray."

I am no specialist on newborns, nor am I a cardiac nurse.  But Baby Charlotte translates over to my nursing career because you don't have to be a neonatal cardiologist to know when something is bad.  Intubated, extubated, reintubated, catheterized, PICC line, incubator...that's all I need to hear to know it's bad.  But no matter how bad it is or how bad it sounds, we cannot give up hope.  We cannot give up faith in God.  That is something that is sometimes hard to remember as a nurse.  I know the science, I know what could happen or what the body does when it is in situations like this.  But I try to keep reminding myself every day with this and with my work, God is not science.  God can and does work miracles.  I have had patients that are a living proof of that.  The power of prayer is an amazing thing.

I have never seen a more Godly person than Sally.  She is always who I turn to when I need my faith revived.  She always has everything in God's hands.  Now I should be the strong one for her, and she is still telling me that they gave it completely to God.  She trusts His will will be done.  She has come to terms with the reality, she doesn't like it and hasn't stopped praying for a miracle, but she knows God has a plan for everything.  It takes someone really special to be that strong.

A little less than nine months ago, I posted my first ever blog.  In my first blog I ended with my excitement over Baby Lyon.  I was the first to find out she was pregnant.  I was the first to know Baby Lyon was coming.  And now I need prayers for Baby Charlotte Rae Lyon.  I hope that there is a miracle out there for her, but if that isn't God's will then I just pray for peace and comfort for Charlotte and her family.  It's all in His hands.

Such a perfect, beautiful baby at birth.

Still perfect and beautiful in all of our hearts.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thank you

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and over-use I love you.  Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense.  Never let your praying knees get lazy.  And love like crazy."

Josh and I were driving home from fishing last night when I heard this song.  It's a song that I have heard many times, but it has never rang more true to me before now.  I have learned many things in my past 24 years.  One of the most important things that I have learned I think is to tell people how you really feel about them and about situations.  I am not saying be mean.  I am not saying go up to every person with a opposing opinion from your own and challenge them; and I am not saying that just because you don't like a person you can cut them down by telling them so.  There's a thin line between speaking the truth for everyone's benefit and speaking what you think is the truth to make yourself seem like the bigger man.

I am still in the beginning stages of this mindset.  I still have a hard time deciphering between the two some days, so if I am ever in doubt about my intentions I refrain from saying anything.  But I am getting better every day.

I have gotten to the point in my life where if someone says something or does something that bothers me or makes me feel uncomfortable, I tell them.  I used to let everything slide, and then I would run home and cry and fuss at Josh about it ultimately taking it out on him when he had no part in it.  Standing up for yourself can be liberating, and I am kind of liking it!

But it's not all about that you know.  This whole "telling people how you really feel" thing can go two ways.  At work I get the greatest satisfaction when my patients call back to the hospital or write in their survey that I did a great job as their nurse or whatever their compliment may be.  People can benefit so much by just a little thank you or sometimes a big thank you when it's warranted.  More so than confronting people when I feel the situation is just, I am focusing more in life on thanking the people who do a great job in life or at work or where ever the opportunity presents itself.

It's the silent do-gooders that get me the most.  I am sure there are more people out there than I know who do good deeds and expect nor want any recognition.  It's the ones who make the hard decisions and actually carry out the hard choices for the greater good of someone else.  For those people it sometimes seems like a simple thank you isn't enough.  But sometimes it is all you can say.

I have said my thank you, and while I wish that I could some how express it more I know I may not be able to.  Sometimes a little thank you can go a long way.

Thank you for everything, for all that you do, now and before this ever happened.  Thank you just for being you.  Thank you!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Geaux Saints!

It's been a while since I have blogged. Shame, shame I know!  Sadly,today won't be much different.  Life is great and work has been really going well and is absolutely fulfilling!  Tons of things to report..just no time to put it all down!  It will come out one day in one big ole blog of randomness...sooner rather than later.  Promise!

But for now..I have a new hobby!!  It's kind of pricey, but I am proud to say I have mastered (err..AM mastering) the art of wreath making!!

GEAUX SAINTS!





Monday, August 22, 2011

LTL

I have a new love in life.  A little 9lb bundle of joy!  Baby Landon, you are going to be a really great and special man some day.  It's crazy how you can only know someone for a couple minutes and love them so completely in an instant!  I love you, Baby Landon!



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It was bliss

Campers.  This is what Josh and I have become. True blue campers.  I'm regretting that I didn't latch onto this past time sooner.  I guess it was all in due time.

Josh and I acquired a new camper a few weeks ago.  It needed a little work and a lot of cleaning.  Josh logged all the man hours after work pretty much every day for the past two weeks...fighting the suffocating heat after he was already tired from a long day of work.  In the end it was all worth it.  This past weekend we loaded up and took our maiden voyage in our new camper.

We stayed relatively close to home since it was our first time out in the camper.  We didn't want to be far away if we ran into any issues and needed to retreat back to the comfort of our cozy home.  We brought the boat and the dogs and headed out for a weekend in the wilderness (ok it was actually in a camp ground with electricity, water, and sewage but wilderness just sounds so much better).

The weekend was bliss...absolutely perfect.  We slept in, grilled out, spent a day out on the water, found a bar in the middle of lake that served the most delicious frozen drinks (that couldn't have been the heat talking), fished, swam, watched movies, and were just absolutely content with life.  It was the best feeling in the most perfect environment.  Even Sunday, the day of our departure, was good.  We woke up early and cooked breakfast.  Then it started to rain and it sounded so peaceful in the camper.  We were full and it was still early, so we decided to just lounge around a read and play games for a while.  We ended up falling asleep, and it was the best nap ever.  I am not a nap taker...there just isn't enough time in the day...but that day it was perfect.

The best part of going camping in the camper is the clean up.  When we got ready to go we put just a few things in the truck to bring in the house.  Everything else stayed in the camper.  We got home and unhooked the camper and that was it...we were done.  The next day, when I had time, I just turned the camper on to cool it off and cleaned it on my schedule.  It was great and so easy!

Now we have been researching different campsites to visit.  We know the camper is in tip-top shape, so our next trip can be somewhere a little farther from home.  I don't know if I can really describe what makes camping so great.  It is never really something that I thought I would have any interest in.  But going camping just Josh and me is such good bonding time.  The camper is so cozy, and it is so nice to just be able to get away and not have to worry about anything.  Anything we could possibly need to eat or cook is in the camper.  We can watch movies and lounge around or go out on the water for the day or whatever we want.  My most disturbing revelation this past weekend was that I am not the Manacala Queen I had prided myself as being.  Sure I was a little rusty because it's been awhile since I have played the game, but Josh has never played and I used to be great at it.  Sadly, he beat me at every game we played figuring out the strategies and working the board as I never thought he could.  It was a sad day for me.

Now we are back in reality and working, cooking, cleaning, and living by a schedule is dominating our lives once again.  We don't mind it so much because we know as soon as we can, we will go camping again.  I guess I should get on with the duties of every day life.  I think I hear the washing machine calling my name now!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Be you

Roots.  We all have them somewhere.  I love my life now in southeastern Louisiana and all the new friends and family that I have here, but my roots are in Mississippi.  I don't know about every other state, but I think the word Mississippi means something different for each person who says it or experiences it.  To some of our good friends Mississippi means the camp and hunting non-stop while you're there.  To some it means the Delta and rolling flat lanes of crops and small towns.  To others it just means home.  But to me it means my identity.  There is no place quite like east central Mississippi.  Where the towns are a little smaller, the words drawn out a little longer, the tea a little sweeter, and the people are more real.  Being real as a person and being true to yourself means more to me than any amount of riches a person could have.  I don't know what happens to some people, but sometimes people just lose themselves in the hustle and bustle of trying to keep up with everyone else.  East central Mississippi isn't like that.  Newton, more specifically, isn't like that.


Now that I am married and finally out of school and working, Josh and I find ourselves in a constant state of improvement.  There is so much we want to do to our house and for ourselves to better what Josh has worked so hard for and what we have so graciously been blessed with that we find ourselves always in motion.  I find myself getting caught up in the wants I have for the house and for our life, and as the list grows longer it starts to seem like we may never get there.  Thankfully, I have Josh to bring me back down.  He reminds me of everything we do have, and he takes me back to my roots.  Work hard for what you can, and the rest you don't really need.

That's kind of what Newton is all about.  At this point in our lives, Newton is more of a mindset than a place.  Newton is the style of thinking we use to remind ourselves what is truly important in life.  Does it matter that we still haven't built our big wooden fence yet?  Not really.  We will get there one day, and for now we honestly have everything we need.

Newton is the way of thinking that helps to keep your priorities straight.  Newton will remind you that God comes before anything else.  With the Newton mindset we know how important family is to our lives and even more than that, how important it is to stay true to your family.  Newton reminds us to count our blessings for each and every friend and to be for them on the bad days, not just the good.  Newton says as long as you have God first, your health, family and friends by your side, and a roof over your head with a nice warm bed to come home to at night; everything else will work itself out.

I have been working too much.  I have been trying to do everything I could to give us a jumpstart in life. I realized that it is really not that important.  We have already been given a jumpstart.  We should live our life with pride.

I have learned many lessons in my short 24 years, many of them learned within the Newton county line. The biggest one is this...love with all your heart, trust God for all things big and small, and be happy with what you have been given.  Trying to change yourself only makes things worse for you in time.  


Be happy. Be you.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lesson learned

In the early stages of my young marriage, I am trying hard to be a good wife.  I am trying to lay down a path that Josh and I will be happy to follow and share with each other from now until forever.  I try to set precedences and start traditions that we enjoy now and can one day hopefully share with our children.  So the story begins...

In trying to be a good wife, I tried to cook one of my husband's favorite dishes the other night.  Even though I have lived in southeastern Louisiana for the past five years, I still haven't quite master the whole Cajun cooking thing.  Mostly this is because I was hanging on to my Mississippi for so long that I didn't want to become "Louisiana", I was fighting the transition.  Now though, I am happy.  I feel like I am at home.  I have friends, and I am setting roots.  I still don't want to give up my background, but I am ready to embrace my present.  And embrace it I did.

There is nothing more Cajun than knowing how to cook a roux.  I have been practicing this skill and three burned rouxs and one second degree burn later, I have just about got it down pat.  So when I decided to cook shrimp stew for my little family of two earlier this week, I was happy to see that the recipe started with, "first you make a roux".  I have got this!  I worked on my roux for what seemed like forever, I stirred until I thought my arm would fall off, but as I grew tired I began to see my concoction turning that perfect caramel brown color and I knew that once again I had done it!  The next step seemed easy...saute chopped onions in the roux until golden brown.  Being a true Cajun Mississippi implant who has learned so much, I knew that if onions would be good in the roux then onions, bell pepper, and celery would be great.  And that is just what I added.  But just sauteing chopped vegetables seemed too easy for such an avid cooker as myself, I decided that I could handle sauteing the vegetables and peeling fresh shrimp at the same time!  This proved to be harder than I thought, but it was do-able.  Now this shrimp stew was really coming together, and I was beginning to swell with pride.  With all the ingredients in, all I had to do now was let it simmer for about an hour!  I was feeling so confident and domesticated that I decided to walk outside to our garden and pick some fresh vegetables to serve with supper.  Apparently though, I have failed to master the task of knowing when a vegetable is really ripe and ready for picking.  Eggplant was a little too fresh, so we just scratched that from our dinner menu.  No biggie...this shrimp stew will be delicious and plenty for the two of us!

Finally, Josh came home from work.  The house was smelling DEVINE with all the aromas from a fresh roux, to sauteed vegetables, to finished and simmering shrimp stew swirling around.  I made him go get comfortable in his chair, and being the good wife that I am, I fixed our plates and brought it in the living room to eat with my husband (yes the living room, isn't that where all normal people eat?!).  Josh was pretty impressed with all I had accomplished with my first shrimp stew, and as he went to take the first bite he asked a very surprising question.  "Where's the rice?"  What do you mean where's the rice?  What rice?  I scanned the recipe again...no mention of serve over rice.  It's shrimp STEW...isn't that like soup? That answer is no.  In Cajun language, stew is more of a gravy type food.  All stews are meant to be served over rice.  Obviously, the Cajun website I used for the recipe thought that stew could go without saying serve over rice...it is kind of just an understood thing around here.  Understand that part, this Mississippi girl did not.  I encouraged Josh to just eat it like soup and I followed suit.  The problem with that we quickly found out is if you eat basically a gravy with no rice the richness of it will give you a stomach ache quick!  OK, lesson learned!  Stew and rice go hand in hand here in Cajun country!

The next chore around the house that was up for grabs was cutting the grass.  Poor Josh has been working so hard lately and to have to think about coming home to cut grass after work all day just seemed cruel.  I decided that I was perfectly capable of cutting grass.  I disagree with those who call it a "man's job".  If  it's acceptable for a man to cook supper and clean house then it is certainly acceptable for a woman to cut a little big of grass!

Unfortuantely, cranking the lawn mower proved to be no easy task.  The battery was dead, and I had absolutely no prior experience with jumper cables.  I mastered that task, cranked the lawn mower right up and began to cut away.  Early in my job though, I decided it would make life a whole lot easier if I could cut the grass as I backed up the lawn mower.  Apparently that's a safety no-no that kills the engine on the lawn mower on the spot.  Lesson learned, but now the lawn mower is yet again refusing to crank, and this time I am in the middle of the front yard.

So I did what anyone would do...attempt to jump the lawn mower off using my car battery (yes that is what you would do in the same situation).  However, this time the lawn mower was not coming back to life as easily.  I gave up, went inside, came back outside, tried again, had a neighbor stop and offer to help, and finally came up with a brilliant plan.  I videoed myself attempting to crank the lawn mower and then texted the video to Josh so he could diagnose the problem.  Thankfully he had a little break at work and was able to call me right back!  A simple fix and the lawn mower cranked right up.  I cut grass until my little hearts content, and I was so proud of myself for all my hard work and determination that I sang along with my Pandora radio at the top of my lungs while I cut.  Again sorry to all my neighbors...we all know that my singing isn't always making a joyful noise!  Now the grass is cut, I have showered, and it is currently raining.  Perfect timing if you ask me!

What's on the agenda for working on my wifely skills for the rest of the day?  I think I may try my hand at using Josh's new hibachi grill tonight.  I know I can make fried rice...or at least I am willing to try!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy June

June 25th. Such a special day for my little family. Josh's birthday! And this year his 25th on the 25th...his golden birthday! Josh and I are big fans of celebrating anything we can, so when one of our birthdays rolls around we tend to turn it into a birthMONTH rather than a birthDAY! This year was no different.
So celebrate and celebrate we did! Anything and everything we could think of to feasibly do, we did in the name of a birthday. That's what I love about Josh...among many, many other things. He brings me out of my shell. He encourages me to get out and do the things that I really want to do while we can. He puts fun in life but at the same time is completely grounded and level headed and knows how to perfectly run a household. We balance each other and make each other better people. Bottom-line, we are blissfully happy and absolutely in love with each other and our lives together.
So happy birthday to my handsome, wise, charming, hardworking, brilliant husband! You make my world go 'round, and I cannot wait to grow old with you!
This year June 25th became special for a second reason. A Baker-Smith wedding made the day even more memorable! It's crazy to think that a little over a year ago I met a girl who I think of as one of my best friends. It was a chance meeting that almost didn't happen, thanks God that it did! I don't even know where my life would be without my Meag Baker-Smith. So to be at her wedding, the most special day of her life, was absolutely everything Josh and I both wanted for the day!
True to form, Meagen was the most beautiful and perfect of all brides. Her day went off without a hitch, and everything was wonderful down to her football coach groom wedding cake topper! From what I understand, even her honeymoon in Jamaica was perfect. And even though it almost killed me to lose complete contact for a week, I knew all well that feeling of honeymoon bliss so I was happy for her to be there soaking it all in.
Now it's July. Obviously I'm late posting this, but sometimes life just doesn't slow down long enough to allow for blogging. The birthday boy is official 25, and the Smith's are living happily as a family unit. looking back on this special day still makes me feel warm on the inside for oh so many reasons. Right now it's to a birthday boy and best friends, happy June y'all!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 24th of June

I am late posting this...I'm horrible I know.  The worst part is that I actually have three late entries to post.  All in due time I guess.  So for now let's go back and pretend like the day is actually last Friday, June 24th.
Happy Birthday to my mom!
What a whirlwind of a life we have led in these past 49 years (but since technically only 24 of the 49 have involved me, let's just start from there).  Two of the three original musketeers, my mom and I have always been extra close.  Anywhere from sharing secrets to sharing a bed at a crazy old age, we have always been tight.  She has always been there to give advice or to lend a hand.  She has believed in me more than most and always encouraged me to do my best.
Sadly, due to prior plans and an important wedding, I couldn't be with my mom on her actual birthday.  Thankfully she is a teacher and able to travel during the summer, so she came and stayed a week with us.  We had a fun time even though I had to work several of the days that she was in town.  She was a trooper and even managed to venture out of the house a time or two by herself.  She and Josh also were able to bond over a missing piece of the puzzle which is always nice.
While my mom was in town, Josh and I took her to see the sights of Thibodaux, brought her to some of our favorite dining treasures, and introduced her to some of our friends among other things.  We all had fun, and we were both very sad to see her go that Wednesday morning.
Despite the fact that we couldn't all be with her for her birthday, she was off having a very good time in a city up north.  Family is a wonderful thing to have, and I am grateful to them that they were able to spend time with her and make her special day even more memorable for her.
So Mom, La-La, Lizard (with one Z), or Mona Lisa...whichever alias you are using today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY.  We love you and hope that your special day was everything that you had hoped...you deserve it!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

God's grace

I have been slacking in the blog department. So much has gone on in the past few weeks since my last blog posting....so much has gone on even before my last blog entry that remained unsaid.  The sad thing about it all is that in all honesty I haven't been slacking.  I have actually been blogging a lot, and then saving them unpublished never to be seen by anyone else's eyes.  That's the thing with me and blogging...it really is a love/hate relationship.  I love to blog.  I love the freedom of being able to actually put to words what I am feeling or what I am going through, but at the same time words can be taken out of context by readers.  Words can hurt people.  Words can seem like more than just words if written the wrong way, or read the wrong way for that matter.

Things have happened.  I have been sad, I have been hurt, I have cried, and I have learned.  And as I have learned over the past few weeks, it is oftentimes the unsaid that can hurt the most.

Over the past few years I have really learned how to deal with my emotions.  I know how to handle my pain and my heartache for the most part.  I know what helps me to relieve my tension.  Josh, my mom and dad, Jef, Mimi, and Kay Kay...these people generally know everything that is going on in my life.  If I am hurting, they are who I run to.  I don't typically let anyone else in.  That is how I handle things.

My life was really rocky a couple years ago.  I had all six of my confidants by my side (plus one really special Crazy) to talk to, to cry on their shoulders.  Other than that, no one else got in.  I was so close to everyone at work...they knew all of my problems.  They didn't know this.  I needed a place where I could where no one knew.  I needed a place where nobody treated me any differently, nobody handled me with kid gloves.  That is how I handle turmoil.  When I am at home, Josh and I will talk about it or I will call someone to vent.  At work I can act like life is fine.  To me it is sort of like forcing yourself to keep going because no one who doesn't know will cut you any slack.

Life always has it's ups and downs.  With new revelations and new feelings, I know that the next few weeks and months could get kind of hairy.  A lot of good can and will come of this, but it is the bad...the unknown...that scares me.

I guess that's where God's grace comes in.  I can promise you that God is always watching out for me.  As me and Josh were on the way home tonight from visiting friends we passed the church where we got married.  They had just put a new saying up on their billboard.
"Pray: Let God worry about everything else."

My friend, SalPal, is constant source of great advice as well.  Her famous saying is, "if you are going to pray why worry, if you are going to worry why pray".  As I drift off to sleep tonight and every night I will say an extra prayer.  God works in mysterious ways.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's been awhile

I have been on a hiatus.  A lot of emotions, a lot of feelings, a lot of living has been going on.  That's the thing about internet blogging, I want so badly to use it as the ultimate outlet to express my most private thoughts.  Sadly, such a public media is oftentimes not the right venue for this.  There are things that need to be said and aired out but such will wait for more appropriate timing...or never who knows!

Josh and I made our first journey as a married couple...to my dad's!  What a wonderful weekend.  The drive there...not so much.  The six hour drive started at 7:30 PM as I was getting off from working my EIGHTH day in a row.  Josh had my car packed and loaded with bags, snacks, and dogs when I pulled up...bless him...so we were able to jump right on the open road.  I wanted to try to drive.  I made it to Canton.  That. Was. It.  After that I was out leaving poor Josh to have to manage the worse part of the lonely drive all on his own.  He made it, and we were able to sleep laaaate Friday morning to catch up.  We ate, visited, ate, shopped a little, ate, enjoyed the outdoors, ate....did I mention we ate A LOT?!  It was all in great fun, and we had a blast.  Very relaxing and a nice getaway from reality.

Now it is back to the daily grind.  I am suppose to be cleaning the house today, but blogging seemed so much more tempting.  We are having company in less than a week, so I really must get busy!!  After this company comes and goes, we will have more company...my mom!!  Can't wait for La-La's arrival!  Then Josh and I will be Biloxi bound for a Baker-Smith wedding and an amazing 25th birthday all rolled into one weekend.  We can't wait!!

It's the many trips and visitors that keep us going.  I don't know what we will do once summer ends.  So for now, cleaning awaits...or whatever else I can find to do that will give me a good excuse not to have to clean!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The view from the rearview mirror

     I was at a red light today.  A very long red light that seemed as if it would never change to green.  I was getting impatient, and began to look through my rearview mirror at the car behind me to try and distract myself.  There was a gold Oldsmobile van, an older model, with a handicapped tag hanging from the rearview mirror.  An older man, who had to be in his late 70’s, was driving what appeared to be his wife.  I watched them for a few minutes, studying them.  He had his hands tightly gripped on the steering wheel at promptly 11 and 1.  He watched the red light intently, but I could tell that he and his wife were talking.  It seemed to be just a casual conversation, one that I imagine they have had thousands of times in the course of their, what I am assuming to be, long and fruitful marriage.  He would glance over at her ever so often, but then his eyes went right back to the red light.  His shoulders were slightly slumped over, and he sat much closer to the steering wheel than I felt was necessary.  He only loosened his grip on the steering wheel once to wipe his mouth.  His wife sat in much the same manner with her gaze tightly fixed on that red light.  It was such an ordinary moment in their day, but I felt almost guilty for watching.  As I watched, I imagined what their conversation was like in that van behind me.  I bet they were talking about what they need from the grocery store, I am sure he complimented her on how good her lunch was that she prepared for him with fresh vegetables from the garden that he hand-picked himself, and I think she sat there thinking how full and happy her life has been through all of these years.
            Is that stereotypical of me?  Is it wrong to assume that the couple I secretly watched from the rear view mirror in my car was still madly in love with each other for all of these years?  I mean technically I don’t even know that they are married.  I don’t know that they are happy or that they even have a home to go to.  I long to be right though because I hope to one day be in the same mundane but very happy situation with my own husband many years down the road.  My thoughts were interrupted by the red light finally changing to green.  Now it changes when I am really enjoying myself watching my new friends, who have no clue as to who I am, from behind me.  The “happy couple” followed me most of the way home.  I was grateful because I was able to sneak a few more glances in their direction.  Their stances stayed the same as they traveled.  Finally, I saw him flip his blinker on, and I knew that we must part.  I imagine that now they are at their home.  He is watching TV or reading the newspaper from his recliner.  She is crocheting and thinking about the day.  Maybe it just helps my own feelings to imagine their lives as happy as I hope my own is when I get that age.  Maybe it was just the peaceful appearance they gave off that gave me this calming feeling inside and told me that everything would be all right.  Whatever it was it helped remind me of my goal in life as a new wife.  Be happy, raise a family, do good for others, work hard for everything, love everyone, be kind, and appreciate all of God's gifts.  It is amazing what one couple can do in only a few minutes time, even if they have no idea that they just taught someone one of the best lessons of her life as she drove along in her car.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One month ago today

I don't know exactly where the time went, but somehow it happened.  An entire month has passed since the nuptials.  For thirty days I have been a wife, I have had a husband.  It's strange to think that after all those months of planning here we are one month past it all.  We survived it though, and so far we are surviving married life.

I'm trying to think back over this past month to see what has happened and what lessons have been learned.  After our week of honeymoon bliss, we have really only had three weeks of real life living since the wedding.  In those three weeks we have talked and grown together even more than before.  In three weeks we (and when I say we I mean Josh) have planted our own family are garden and are beginning to see the first fruits of life in it.  In three weeks we have remolded the kitchen and learned that I am highly allergic to sawdust (this knowledge may come in handy if I am ever asked to help clean up after a remolded again).  In three weeks I have learned a tough lesson on life that I will carry with me every day;  a lesson I came home and taught my husband as he was my shoulder to cry on.  In three weeks we have had a happiness that we have never experienced before.  It's just been marriage.  It's just been a month.  And we hope to have many many more happy months like this.  Although we have had some tough issues to work through, we made it through together.  And at the end of the day, that's all that matters.

I don't have any pictures back yet, but I promise they are coming.  We did have an amazing videographer who gave us a small segment of the wedding to share with everyone.  Feel free to relive it with us here.

As for tonight, it's cheers to married life and the hope of peaceful dreams.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

The land of the free

I just wrote a blog.  I spent days agonizing over it.  I wanted to word it right.  I wanted it to be special.  It was a blog to honor a fallen solider.  It was blog that gave credit to all of the troops.  It was a blog that I don't think that I can recreate.

USMC Staff Sgt. Jason Rogers was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday, April 7th.  Jason was my step-brother that I never had the chance to meet.  Jason was a husband, a son, a grandson, a nephew, and a friend among many things.  Jason was a U.S. Marine.  He served his country with honor and with pride.  He wanted to be there, he wanted to fight for us...even for strangers like me that he never got to meet.  I have heard my mom and Tracy talk about Jason over and over.  I have heard stories of a man whose character exemplifies that of a true American hero.

And now I find myself stuck in a place where I'm not sure where to go.  I want to reach out to the family, to take away their pain and their grief.  I think about Jason's wife, and as a new wife my heart breaks over and over for her.  I know though that the only thing that can help them is time, prayers, and God.  So for now I am praying.  I am praying for God to wrap his arms around each and every one of them and bring them comfort and strength.

I wanted to end this blog with pictures of Jason that I found on Facebook at his wedding ceremony last August.  I think trying to do that was what caused me to lose this original blog posting though, so I will refrain from that.  Instead I will leave you with the opportunity to read this article that was in Clarion Ledger about Jason and his amazing life.  You can read it here.

Say a special prayer for Jason and all his family and friends tonight and every night.  God bless our troops.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thanksgiving

Life is crazy.  Married life is no different.  We got married almost three weeks ago.  I am still not completely done unpacking from the honeymoon yet.  I know that's horrible.  I probably shouldn't admit to it, but like I said...life is crazy!  I love it though.

I love my job...even though it can get hectic.  I love having a husband.  I love looking at him and knowing he is my husband.  He still has been sick our entire marriage thus far, but I still love him more than I can express.  I love our little home and our two (four legged) babies (Toby and Beaux).  I love my family and how wonderful and supportive they all are.  I love having a family in Thibodaux with Josh's family and my family from the office.  I love and am so grateful about the fact that we were able to have the absolutely most perfect wedding that was exactly like we wanted, and now we have it all on video so that we can relive it over and over.  I love our friends...old and new.  I love that we have booked our annual trip to Bogue Chitto for Josh's birthday.  It will be a little late this year, but I love that it will be late because of a Baker-Piff wedding that we are SO excited about and have already booked our room for the weekend for!  I love my DVR and the fact that it records the trash that I am addicted to (i.e. Sister Wives and Teen Mom 2 just to name a few).  Staying up late, having days off during the week, and a new Dugas family garden outside....I love it all.

I was feeling really thankful tonight.  Also I was feeling really sorry for myself because I was stalking someone on facebook looking at someone with really cute hair and wishing mine would do that and knowing it never would, SOOO I decided to focus on what all I do have!  I still don't have that wild and crazy curly hair I was wishing for a few minutes ago, but I am happier now realizing what all I do have!

Now it is bedtime which brings me to something that I am definitely thankful for every single night...I am so thankful to be working dayshift so that I am able to go to bed at night like a normal person!  Good night world!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Weekend where have you gone?

Wednesday was my first day back at work since all of the wedding festivities.  It had been almost two weeks since the last time I worked.  I love my job and am so thankful to have it especially in this tough job market, but it was hard to go back to work Wednesday.  It was probably my toughest week ever.  Wednesday was bad because it was the first day back.  I am a very new nurse.  I just came out of orientation about a week before the wedding.  When I left for the wedding/honeymoon, I still wasn't even taking a full load of patients.  I came back after a two week hiatus, and automatically I had a full load...plus we had just gotten some new equipment on the floor my last day that I had to re-familarize myself with as well.   But it was ok.  Wednesday was a very trying day, but it had to happen.  I had to get myself back into the swing of things.  It took the whole day, but by the end of the day I had it.

Now it is my weekend off, and I am trying to enjoy it to the fullest with my husband.  Sadly, he has been sick our entire marriage thus far.  He seems to be rounding the corner and coming to the end of his illness.  I think I may have caught it though.   That of course would be our luck.  We haven't slept well the whole marriage.  It has been because of Josh's coughing for the most part.  Last night, he didn't cough all night, but I couldn't sleep because I kept having to wake up to blow my nose.  Married life doesn't seem to be agreeing with us at this point, but we are going to kick this and move on from here.

We planted our Dugas family garden.  Josh did actually.  We hope it produces some good vegetables for us.  We shall see.  Also, a test copy of our wedding DVD came in yesterday.  Hilarious. Also interesting to see all the things we missed throughout the ceremony and reception.  Priceless!  My next task is to attempt to put a few exerts on YouTube so that I can share them.  We probably have a better chance with the garden, but we will see how the process goes.

Crawfish boil tomorrow and we couldn't be more excited.  I'm still trying to figure out where our weekend has gone though!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The start of something new...life as a Dugas

Well, it's official.  I'm a wife.  While I look back on this past week and half it seems like it has come and gone way too fast, and at the same time some of the hurdles we had to cross make me cringe.  I feel pretty confident saying this far in advance; this is sure to be a fairly lengthy blog, so if you feel the need to skim through some it is fine.  I just don't want to forget anything when I look back later.

So let's go back to Thursday the 17th..two days before the wedding.  My dad and his family had gotten in Wednesday night late.  My mom and Kay Kay came in that day early.  Baker-Smith and Sal Pal came in late afternoon.  I worked all day.  Josh took my dad fishing.  Thursday night after work I went to the reception hall as fast as possible...everyone began decorating an hour earlier.  It looked great.  I gave my opinion here and there, and then we all left to find food.  We ended up at Chili's, and from that point on I felt like the night was not on my side.  I cried in the car, I cried walking in, I cried sitting at the table.  I was just so emotional and so sad because I felt like the wedding would come and go so quickly and I just wanted to be able to spend time with my family and friends.  My tears were dried, my fears were calmed, and after dinner everyone came to the house for a little quality time.

Friday morning we hit the ground running.  Between dropping off dogs, getting fingers and toes done, and getting ready for a rehearsal dinner there was too much to do and not enough time to do it.  Everything came together, and thankfully my dad and Josh didn't mind working their tails off to make everything perfect.  Rehearsal went smoothly.  Auntie S was the perfect coordinator as she tried to whip the boys into shape and voice some of my concerns about traditions to the preacher.  Before we knew it we were out of there and headed to the dinner.  At the dinner we all had a fabulous time.  Surrounded by friends and family, I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect.  The fish and Indonesian cuisine were out of this world, the crawfish were to die for, and the oysters were fantastic!  Perfect night ending with all of the girls coming to stay with me and telling stories and gossiping until we all fell asleep.

Saturday was wedding day, but I was too busy to stress.  I had my hair and make up done and my bridesmaids all came to a manicure and brunch that was hosted by the illustrious Crazy Ladies.  Mimosas and a musical serenade made sure that we are a family the beauty shop will not soon forget!  Then it was on to the church for pictures.  This is when I started to have time to worry.  The bridge was closed...THE bridge linking all my family, friends, and videographer from out of town to the wedding.  Didn't the bridge know it was my wedding weekend?  I panicked, but of course it worked out.  The wedding proceeded, everyone was there, Josh and his dad halved the last piece of gum, but at the end of the day we were MARRIED!

The reception made everything worthwhile.  Everything that we had been planning, working so hard on, culminated at this one time.  It was amazing.  I remember just looking around and being in complete bliss.  It was exactly what I wanted.  We all danced until we couldn't dance anymore.  Josh and I kept saying we would leave, but we just didn't want to...we were having the time of our lives.  The night was perfect, and there is no possible way that we could ever express our thanks enough.  I cried when we left that night...I was sad to go, I didn't want to go on a cruise, I just wasn't sure what to do.

Sunday morning came, and we continued our journey to the port to catch our ship.  We made it with perfect timing.  Our bags were the right size so we chose to carry them on.  We laughed at those poor saps checking in their bags...they were sure not to have them until the wee hours of the morning.  Not us though...we would have our stuff whenever we wanted.  We walked proudly through that terminal each strapped down with matching bags.  But then the luggage Gods laughed at us.  The shipped had been delayed over three hours coming in that morning because of fog...we were now in a major set back.  We sat packed into a hot room with a thousand other people.  Very quickly, our bags began to get heavy.  Eventually the line started to move though, and we were yet again proud of ourselves for carrying our own bags.  Four hours later, when we finally made it to the room, we had begun cussing our bags.  Our shoulders had given out and were rebeling against the excess weight.  Lesson learned...next time check your dang bags.

The ship was massive, our room had a gorgeous view from the balcony, everything seemed perfect...except Josh was sick.  That was ok though because I am a nurse, and what good nurse does not pack her own poly-pharmacy for emergencies like this?  I dosed him up and we were good to go.  Except the medicine didn't help, so I dosed him again, and again.  Two days, three trips to the onboard pharmacy, and sixty dollars later...Josh was feeling great!  Good thing because the next stop was Jamaica!

Jamaica was gorgeous.  The land was beautiful, the water clear, and the people so nice.  We wheeled and dealed, Josh got a hair braid, and we rode in a glass bottom boat to get a view of the ocean life.  Before we got back on board Josh decided he may need a little DayQuil that he saw at an American shop in the port.  We bought it, boarded the boat, and were good to go.  Next stop, the Caymen Islands.

As the day progressed in the Caymen's, so did Josh's sore throat.  We went on a tour with a family from Honduras.  Only the dad spoke English, so he translated the whole way.  We told him we were honeymooning, he translated to his family and they all clapped and cheered for us.  Then they gave us pears, and they each gave us a little marriage advice.  We got to visit the town called Hell.  It was mostly a tourist trap.  When we walked in they greeted us with, "Hi.  How the hell are you?  What the hell are you looking for?  Hurry up and get the hell out of here."  After we left the town of Hell, we decided to spend the rest of the day on the beach.  Apparently the rain had the same plan though so we gave up and retreated back to the boat.  By this point, Josh was completely out of DayQuil and was really starting to feel bad.

We tried to start the next day off on a new foot.  We were in Cozumel, and I was pumped because I was swimming with the dolphins.  It was amazing and definitely one of the highlights of my trip.  We also ate authentic mexican cuisine, shopped, and had fun with the locals.  Once we got back to the boat we decided that we were ready for an elegant night at sea, so we cleaned up and got decked out to go to this amazing steakhouse that was on board.  It was delicious, and a perfect end to our day!

All in all, the trip was amazing.  Besides the first $60 I spent in the pharmacy, I went back and spent at least forty dollars more on cough syrups, cough drops, and the like.  Apparently, I wasn't as good of a nurse as I had originally credited myself for.  All sickness aside, we had the time of our lives.  We went to shows, ate pizza at 2am, ordered room service, enjoyed our view from the balcony, had a couples massage, drank numerous tropical beverages in the hot tub, watched movies outside on the big screen under the stars, and just enjoyed each other's company.

Now we are back in the real world and are excited to start our life as a family.  As we pulled onto our street earlier today on our way in from the cruise I told Josh I guessed the honeymoon was over.  He assured me that it was just beginning and would never end.  Words of comfort that I needed to hear although the piles of laundry we brought back with us begged to differ.  We came in to a clean house compliments of great friends and family.  Baker-Smith completely outdid herself and had our guestbook finished and waiting for us on the bed along with welcome home note.  Josh and I are still searching for a way to repay her for everything that she went out of her way to do throughout the whole wedding process.

Tomorrow will be back to real life as I spent my first day post-honeymoon bringing my husband to the family doctor and then to the eye doctor (apparently you can't leave your contacts in a drinking glass soaking and expect them to still be there when you return...our fault and we do take that blame).  So now it is Home Sweet Home and life as we know it begins.

Monday, March 14, 2011

ACF

I haven't been the best with keeping up with my blog.  Time just seems to slip away from me these days.  But I have missed blogging.  It seems to be such a good an outlet, a release for me.  I don't even know why I fought the urge to get one for so long.

It is now the wedding week.  We are knocking on Tuesday's door as I write this and the wedding is Saturday.  Tomorrow is my last day off before all the festivities begin.  My family will begin to arrive on Wednesday, so tomorrow will bring an early morning with a massive overhaul of cleaning.  This is also the week that I have developed a stomach ulcer.  I don't even know why...but then again I do.  I have been doing an excellent job of keeping it cool for all of this.  I have been very go with the flow and non-chalant about most everything.  I am very proud of myself because all of these qualities are so not me.  I think the stress is coming from the unknown.  I won't be upset with how anything turns out (for the most part), but I am nervous thinking about how it will all fall together and how it will all come to be.  I want to know how this day will go down in my history.

Throughout all of the stress, I have really been thinking about how lucky I am lately.  I have an awesome family to support me through all of this who have all been there every step of the way in some form or fashion.  I have friends that are bending over backwards to make this day special for me.  I have Josh who has been my rock, my support system, my everything.  I have a wonderful job that I absolutely love.  I just came out of orientation Sunday...I am officially on my own.  My first day was crazy and great.  I really do love it, and I know that I am blessed to have all of this in my life.

I thought about all of this Sunday night.  I worked all day Sunday, and after work I went to meet Josh at some friends' house about twenty minutes away.  I enjoyed the drive so much...it really helped to enhance my perspective on all things life.  It reminded me of being back home in Newton.  When I was in Newton my car was my safe haven.  If I was having a bad day, if anything was going on in my life, if I just wanted to be alone to think I would get in my car and drive.  I only drove on backroads, the good ones...the ones that curve and curve and the gravel slowly turns to dirt.  The ones that have absolutely no cell phone towers, so you don't have to worry about anyone bothering you because you have no cell phone signal.  The ones where you can ride around blasting your radio and singing along and no one would ever see you, or you could ride around with tears flowing from your eyes and no one has to know.  The ones where all you are surrounded by is trees, rolling flatlands, and the Heavens.  That was my escape.  Sunday night was kind of like a mini-escape.  It wasn't the backroads of Mississippi, but it was a nice quiet stretch of roadway that helped to clear my head.  I needed that...it was a nice refresher.

So tomorrow it is cleaning and preparing things before I have to get back to the daily grind of work Wednesday.  I hope to get all the bags packed and loaded in my car tomorrow.  I hope to do a lot of things.  But tonight I hope to rest easily and sleep peacefully.  I hope the hours seem longer and the dreams seem sweeter.  And I hope I wake up tomorrow raring to go with everything that is left to do.  Sadly this may be my last blog posting as Anne Claire Foshee.  I can see my last few days becoming very busy very quickly.  I'll have ample time after we get back from the honeymoon to catch you up on every detail of the wedding and honeymoon.  Until then it's hoping for great sleep!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The serious countdown has begun

The wedding countdown is getting serious.  NINE days...almost eight at this point!  Where has the time gone?  I remember talking to Sally a little over a year ago, and we were both wishing we were married.  Now she is and has baby onboard, and I'm on the marriage cusp.

I met with the preacher today.  I think that made it feel even more real.  We stood in the church where we will be standing in nine days; he said some of the things he will be saying in nine days.  He talked about my dad walking me down the aisle and how he should stand to give me away in nine days.  I felt the tears welling up, but I fought them back...I may not be strong enough to fight them in nine days but today I was.

Thinking about how close the wedding is to being here makes me look back on how much has happened in the last year and a half since the engagement.  I didn't have a blog then to record those funny times...too bad too because it has really been something.

Getting engaged in the woods was something, but it was 100% Josh and I would have wanted nothing else.  First we picked a date...that was really tough.  I remember riding back from Mississippi with a calendar in hand scratching off days and months.  We had to work around my school schedule, hurricane season, Mardi Gras, and hunting season.  We originally planned to be married April 30th, but prior plans of my dads plus the realization that we could move it up to March changed our minds.  Two of our best friends got married March 20th last year...we almost have matching dates now!

Then the bridesmaids/groomsmen fiasco....originally we had 7 of each....now we have 5 groomsmen and 6 bridesmaids.  We lost four and gained one...oh well it will all work out in the end (although I still have no clue as to which two girls will have to walk on either side of one groomsmen).

Picking a venue for the reception was relatively easy; although, I really wish we had done an all inclusive place.  At the time that wasn't possible because of our caterer...we changed caterers but it was too late to change venues...oh well again.  Finding a place to have the actual wedding ceremony was far less than easy.  It was going to be at the KC Hall where the reception is, but Kay Kay fought that and won...and now I am very happy that she forced strongly urged me to change my mind on that one.  Actually finding a church was one of the hardest ordeals of the whole planning process...every one we called was either booked, outrageously priced, or too small for our crowd.  Finally we found one that would take us, and although it is not the most outwardly pretty of all churches around it is still a church and that's all that matters.

Tons of other things have gone on with this wedding since that day I said, "yes"; the first day of the year of 2010.  We have planned, we have fought, we have laughed, and we have grown.  Now all the planning is done, and it is all starting to fall together.  It's scary and exciting at the same time.  Kay Kay called the other night and after we talked a little while she asked if I would do all this again.  I told her next time I am eloping.  I don't think she found the humor in my joke...she's still a little touchy when it comes to that.  When I was little I always said I didn't want to have a big wedding.  I thought the perfect wedding would be getting married in the back of the limo on the way to the airport to leave on the honeymoon; our parents could come and ham sandwiches would be served.  Now, even though it has been hectic and crazy, I am so grateful that I was able to experience this.  It is exactly what I wanted and exactly what I planned.  I'm happy we didn't elope, and I can't wait until the actual wedding day gets here.

It's funny because when I was little I thought I would be more excited about the honeymoon than anything.  Now that it is here, I don't even know if I want to go on the honeymoon.  Not that I don't want to go by any means, but I'm scared.  We are going on a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise.  Josh was dying to do it and I was indifferent, so we did it.  Now that it is almost here I am completely freaked out about it.  I'm scared.  I'm scared of being out on the open water in a boat.  I'm scared to be so far away with no way to return.  I'm scared of not being able to communicate with my family and friends for seven whole days.  Everyone reassures me that it will be wonderful.  People say the best thing about it is that you can't use your cell phone.  I'm still worried.  Plus what do I pack??  I started yesterday, but I don't even know where to begin.  Mark my words..I will have this whole house packed up by next week if no one supervises me.  I am a habitual over-packer...unless I'm not for some reason and then I am a careless under-packer.  Neither of these are what I hope to achieve for this trip.

As I get ready to drift off into dreamland, my head is heavy with thoughts of everything that needs to be done.  I work tomorrow...five more work days until wedding time...now that is a scary thought!  Before this ninth day in the countdown becomes number eight, I better say good night and pick this up another day.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A lazy Sunday is a terrible thing to waste

The wedding is getting closer.  I can feel it breathing down my neck as time quickly passes away.  I have never felt time move this quickly in my entire life.  I had so many things to do before the wedding, and somehow the time just got away from me before I got a chance to do them.  For now I'll blame that on graduating, take state boards, and starting a brand new job.

I was off work Friday...for the whole weekend really, but Friday was my day to get a lot of things done around the house.  The room we just painted and laid new flooring in needed the furniture moved back in and things organized.  That was my plan for the whole day.  Apparently, my stomach had other plans.  Enter the dreaded stomach virus.  I was so mad that it came on a day when I had so much to do and so many things planned.  I got nothing accomplished.  Josh and I had dinner plans....that didn't happen either unless you call him watching me eat a popsicle dinner!  He was a great nurse though...I'll spare you the details.  Even though I was mad to have wasted such a needed weekend, it was really better that it happened at a time when I didn't have to go into work.  I am also really grateful that this is not two weeks from now, and we are at wedding weekend with the stomach virus.  We can always thank God for the small things that could have been (and cross our fingers and pray that it doesn't happen to anyone else during that time)!

Saturday was a better day, but still not quite strong enough for food.  I did attempt a fajita...bad idea.  I was feeling fine as long as I didn't eat, so we went along with our day as planned.  It was our favorite night of Mardi Gras because one of Josh's friends has a shop along the parade route.  We always cook and hang out in the shop, and then we have front row seats when the parade passes.  Sadly, the parade was rained out.  We hope to make a parade today in Thibodaux, but we shall see!

As for the wedding, it is stressing me to be so close but at the same time I am ready for it to be here.  I don't know what I will do with myself once it's over...maybe sleep.

I am excited to know what it feels like to have a husband.  I know this is probably silly, but I feel like it will feel different to see my husband after work.  I feel like cooking supper for my husband will feel different than cooking supper for my boyfriend.  I feel like he will look different, and we will both instantly mature.  Not that I want anything at all to change with our relationship because it is pretty perfect the way it is.  I just feel like inside it will feel different...more real...more adult.  I guess only time will tell.

For now I have plenty to do so I had better get hoping.  A lazy Sunday is a terrible thing to waste.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sleepin' easy

God answers prayers.  What else can I say?  I could end this post with just that, but I'll elaborate.

Today has been wonderful and exhausting.  I got a ton of things accomplished...one of those things being shopping for clothes to wear on the cruise.  I haven't been shopping in ages...it just doesn't thrill me (plus I'm cheap and I hate to spend money)...but today it was great fun and very uplifting!

We received some wonderful news today.  My Mimi got a great report back from the doctor today, and that made the day perfect all in itself.  This is something we have all prayed and prayed about.  Her strength and faith persevered as God shined through.  She is the strongest Christian woman I know and leads her life and her family in a way that I hope to one day be able to lead mine.  God blessed us all today with her excellent report!

But God didn't stop there.  He also sent us a perfect place for the rehearsal dinner.  It was Josh's idea to drive up to the middle of the fire station as their meeting was getting out last night.  We were sweaty from working out and looking rough.  I was game to go until I saw a familiar face...I tried to back out, but it was too late.  So we stopped and talked, networked a little, and asked around about places for a rehearsal dinner (and I may have squeezed in my most pitiful and desperate looking eyes)...he gave us a name and a number.  We got a call back today, went to see it this afternoon, put down a deposit, and it's ours!!  We have a place!  Not just any place, the PERFECT place!  I feel like a weight has been lifted.  Of course we had a back up plan...Josh's house...but the stress of getting it ready for that was almost too much for me to handle.  This is truly a blessing!

Josh and I have been working feverishly on his house.  I want it to be perfect when everyone comes to town.  I know it is a long drive for a lot of people, and I want them all to be able to get the full experience while they are all here and see everything including the house that we have been working so hard on!  Today we cleaned out the fish pond.  It felt good to be outside on such a gorgeous day.

All in all it has been a great day...much improved from the stresses of yesterday.  Everything always works itself out.  Tomorrow it's back to work, and tonight I'll sleep a lot easier!