29 September 2013


Things on my mind. Very random.

It's hard searching for the perfect area rug. We can't do shag because of dog hair. We can't do woven because of dog hair. We can't do dark colors because of dog hair. We can't do light colors because of the occasional dog accident and husband-spilling-Coke-Zero accidents. I give up.

It's time for another Paleo challenge, starting TOMORROW. September 30. I'm not going to incessantly post every day of my menus like I did back in July; weekly updates will be annoying enough. I have some new recipes I want to try (apple & pumpkin egg strata bake for fall, anyone??) and with our new grill/smoker, this time around will be a no-brainer.

The good thing about my last Paleo challenge is that some new habits formed, and stuck. Like no more Splenda. I tried Splenda in my coffee a couple weeks ago just for something sweet and I about passed out. It was nasty. I ended up dumping the cup down the drain and starting over with a good ol' cup of pure black caffeine. Yum.

I won't see my husband again for a few weeks/months/years. Not only is he teaching and working on his Master's and coaching golf, but fall baseball started yesterday. Awesome.

With Matt off coaching baseball all day yesterday, my friend Marilyn and I went out to explore the area. She's lived here awhile and works for the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Department, so she knows all of the awesome nature trails and animal hideouts. We went to the Centennial Trail, a really cool conservation area north of Vero that's a great place to explore and see all sorts of different native birds and plants.

The Centennial Trail commemorates one of the nation's very first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Right here in Florida. Ten minutes away from my house. Very cool.

I'm such a history nerd.

From Florida Hikes: Pelican Island isn’t just a National Wildlife Refuge, it’s the National Wildlife Refuge that started the whole concept going, back in 1903. Even further back, in 1858, the small island in the Indian River Lagoon – offshore from where the refuge access is today – was documented as a brown pelican breeding ground.

On March 14, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an order to designate Pelican Island as the first Federal bird reservation, the first time ever the government set aside land for wildlife. The National Wildlife Refuge system evolved out of this act, as did our National Parks and National Forests. On March 14, 2003, the Centennial Trail was the centerpiece of a nationwide celebration of the National Wildlife Refuge system.

Easy hike, beautiful scenery.

Each plank of the walkway commemorates a National Wildlife Refuge, in order of year added.

Shout-out to Missouri!

Then we walked a mile or so on the mushy beach sand, allowing me to wake up this morning with aching calves and sore feet. Yay!

Today I love: Natural, non-touristy Florida and dry shampoo that smells like blueberries for my dogs. They are stinky!

22 September 2013


You know when you have to get on an airplane and fly four states away and you don't know when you're going to see your friends and family again and you end up with a massive crying headache? 

That's all I've done today. 

This weekend was awesome and beautiful and sparkly and perfect. 

If my family knows how to do anything right, it revolves around throwing a fabulous wedding. 

The setting: my Auntie Mary Eleanor and Uncle Sam's house. The memories made growing up here...the absolute perfect place to celebrate even more family. 

I think I heard Uncle Sam say the last time a wedding was held here was in 1886 or something. Yes. The 1800's. Horses and carriages. 

Speaking of...

The 19th century has nothing on us. 

And what's a family get-together without the porta-potty tent sponsored by Eaton Funeral Home? 

After all, dad did tell Erin that she was able to go to college from the money made from the little machine in the ladies restroom. So this is fitting. 

The wedding was gorgeous. After living with my cousins Tom and Gretchen for a year during nursing school, their son Jonathan is more like a little brother to me than second cousin. I'm so happy for him and Anne! Gorgeous couple who are definitely going places. 

They have a definite standing invite to come visit any time. Love them!! 

The Eaton-Farrell-Stolte families also get ridiculously ridiculous. It must be all the sets of twins. 

Selfishly enough, one of my favorite parts of the night was dancing with my Daddy to our song - My Girl. We've danced to that song since I was three years old...I'll never get tired of him twirling me around and stepping on my feet. 

All of the single and/or no-kids cousins had our own table...just like when we were nine.  

This grown-up version was a lot more fun. 

My super-adorbs niece had her own idea of fun. 

"Uncle Matt!! Let's go this way!!"

"Now this way!"

"Look, Uncle Matt! Horses!"

"Look, Uncle Matt! Poop!"

Matt: "Look, Adelyn! Soybeans!"

So while Uncle Matt was busy with the children, Erin and I were like, "Look!! A photo booth!!" 

Love me some sister time. 

You should see the pics mom and dad took. Something about red lips and a fireman helmet...I don't want to know. 

So after embarrassing Matt with waaayyyy too much southern-baptist-white-girl dancing, we crashed back at my parents house until the brunch this morning. 

Where the tears started. 

I tried so, so hard not to. 

But I'm a Missouri Girl first and foremost. No matter how much Matt tries to convince me that I really do love 30000 degree temps year-round, well, let's just say the leaves are starting to turn colors and I was able to wear shorts and long sleeves...one of my favorite combos. 

Plus the family...my family is nuts. Crazy. Off-the-wall insane. But I am too. We get each other. We can be ridiculous together. 

So I burst into tears when I hugged my cousin Libby good-bye. I cried in the car on the way to the airport. I cried again when I hugged my parents in the kiss-and-fly zone. I was still crying when we went through security. Again in the Cardinals store by our gate. Again on the plane. 

Matt was starting to get a little concerned. I think he might have even offered to get me another puppy at one point. 

But now we're in the car, driving home from the Orlando airport. It's rainy and overcast, but I'm not crying anymore. After a little more than a year in south Florida, it actually feels like home. I cnt wait to get to the house and see the pups. Get back to work tomorrow. 

Get back to my box. 

First thing I did when we landed? Checked tomorrow's WOD. (I know!!) It's more thrusters, which I'm still crazy-sore from on Saturday after doing CF in Sullivan. 

But this is the first time I really don't care what the workout is. I'm just excited to go see the faces. CF is more than working out. It's a community. 

So while I'm missing my family and friends back in Missouri...as completely cheesy and stupid as this sounds...I'm looking forward to seeing the people who encourage me and motivate me and make me feel like I belong despite the fact I'm not a hometown girl.  

I don't like feeling alone in a new state- like no one knows me because I didn't grow up here- and Crossfit has truly made me feel like this is now home. 

One can only be so blessed to have families - no matter how they look or act - in so many places around the country (here's looking to you too, Alabama!!)

Ugh. I'm so cheesy. I need to go drink a protein shake and lift something heavy. Good grief. 

Today I love: Matt. No matter if we're in Missouri or Florida or Alabama, he's my one constant that sticks with me across the state lines. Whether he wants to or not. Bahahahahaaaaaaaaa!!! 

And the fact that the Cardinals clinched their playoff spot. Merry Clinchmas!! 

21 September 2013

No Excuses

I'm back in my hometown of Sullivan, Missouri this weekend for a family wedding. I haven't been back in about 1 1/2 years, so it's been fun seeing what's changed and all the people I've missed.

But geez, Daddy. Really????

First thing: Snuggle with grandpa. 

Then my nieces. 

Then go WOD my butt off because, while I'm trying to stay as paleo as possible, chili mac supreme at Steak n' Shake just had to be ordered. 

I'm so lazy sometimes!!

But vacation is not an excuse to not WOD!!!

So hence, lots of running. Hills. Missouri is full of them, Florida is not.


I forgot all about that.

My friends Natalie and Kyle have a nice little box in Sullivan, and we did a decent WOD this morning with thrusters, pull-ups and running. Lots of running. 

It felt good for so many reasons, despite my uuuuggggghhhhing about the running. 1) Missouri is sooo much cooler than Florida. WOD's in 57 degrees is a little nicer than 90 degrees. No humidity!! and 2) No one is cooking much this weekend, so eating out has been a challenge.

How do you eat out and still be paleo?

Well, for starters, don't go to Steak n' Shake and order the chili mac supreme. With cheese fries.

The good news is that's been my worst mistake so far.

Thursday morning on the way to the airport: Protein shake, pumpkin coffee from DD. Snack on the plane: apple, almonds, cashews, dried coconut. Cracker Barrel Thursday night - grilled chicken salad.

Friday morning: Protein shake, blueberries. Lunch was the Steak n' Shake disaster, but dinner was plain pulled pork, broccoli and salad at my cousin's rehearsal dinner. Not too bad. 

And I have to say, the Walters Family was looking quite amazing last night. 

He's not just hot in baseball pants, people. 


Today: After the WOD, I downed a couple scrambled eggs and bacon x2. The first mess of bacon I made was stolen by my niece who took a whole handful straight off my plate and ran away yelling, "I want soooommmmeeee!!!" Sure thing, kid. You better run. You're lucky I didn't take your hand off.

Just kidding. Kind of.

Stay off my bacon, people.

The rest of the day is wide open. I always tend to be better at staying on track when I do my workouts - energy and motivation to not ruin what I accomplished. But you know what? I'm not going to beat myself up if I have some wedding cake. I'll just get up tomorrow and run some hills again before we fly back to FL.

Maybe. Hills are up there with burpees in my opinion.

But cake. Mmmmmmm.

Today I love: Thrusters and bacon. Thrusters and bacon.

12 September 2013

Again Tomorrow

Rob is apparently feeling pretty sadistic this week.

Crossfit has been ridiculous.

Monday: Front squats, squat sequences, then handstand push-ups, burpees, run. Multiple times.

Burpees. The bane of my existence.


We had to do three of the "girls."

Isabel - 30 snatches. Annie. 50-40-30-20-10 reps of double-unders and sit-ups.  Fran - 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups.


If we are being realistic and not completely outside our minds, those workouts are typically done one at a time. Separate days. Separate weeks, for that matter.

I almost died. I almost threw up. I had a very hard time maneuvering my steering wheel on my drive home. I spilled all my water down the front of myself because I couldn't lift my arms to get the bottle up to my face.


Wednesday - SO, SO glad it was a rest day, because 1) My abdominal muscles decided they hated me from the day before and decided to boycott any further workouts, and 2) There was no way in hades I was getting on that dang Airdyne. Plus sprints.

Today: Another day of pure insanity. 1000m row....then we're expected to do box jumps, push presses, and wall-balls?

And you all know by now how I feel about wall-balls.

Let's discuss the box jumps.

It's taken me a good five months of Crossfit to even come close to having the courage to jump on the box. I stand there and stare at it, hoping I will just magically float on up there and have it over with.

It's seriously intimidating.

Especially when Rob is staring at you, almost willing you to not do it so he can make you wear shin guards, because, true - out of everyone in the box, you're the one who will probably miss the edge and scrape the crap out of your shins.

Conversation this morning:

Me: "How hard will it be to row with the shin guards on?"
Wendy: "Why are you wearing shin guards?"
Rob, standing there just listening, raises his eyebrows like, "Helllooooo, isn't it obvious??"
Me, pointing to Rob: "Him. That's why."
Wendy, laughing. "Do you want a helmet, too?"
Me: "And elbow pads. And goggles. Probably a couple pillows. I'll be the special kid in gym class today."

In all honesty, Rob and Wendy are awesome. Great trainers who look out for you - safety and proper form is #1. I like that. Even if I have to wear the dang shin guards.

So, shin guards and all, I finished the workout without injuring myself or anyone near me. Bonus.

And yes. My abs are still revolting from two days ago.

Seriously. WHAT THE CRAP was up with Tuesday???

You're also probably wondering why the WODs are named after girls. Most CF workouts have a name associated with them for fallen heroes and military personnel.

As for the girls...

Nice, boys.

But after all that ridiculousness, all the insanity, all the sweat dripping into your contacts and making them burn, you still walk away feeling like you did something great.

While most people are still in bed.

Speaking of tomorrow, I think it's time for another Paleo challenge. Not tomorrow, but I'm thinking about doing it again in the next few weeks or so. I haven't fully gotten back on track since vacation, and I need to rein everything back in.
Last night I really wanted soup and some bread for dinner, and I ended up splitting half a loaf of french bread with the dogs, because with me and bread, I just can't have it in the house or I will eat all of it. ALL OF IT. Uggghhhh. I felt like JUNK afterwards. I started getting shaky, like I do with carbohydrates and my stupid low blood sugar. I can't keep doing that and expect to have good workouts.
So, I'm going to be putting together some better plans in the next few weeks. Anyone want to join me?

09 September 2013


Disclaimer: This post is weird. Very weird. I hope it's not offensive. This is just me, being me, about growing up in a funeral home. We were serious when we needed to be. Other times, well, when you grow up around something it just becomes part of you. Let me know what you think. So here we go.

So. Some of you newer blog followers sent me some messages about my last post - namely, the part where I mentioned I grew up around death.

Yeah, I should probably explain that to you who don't know me very well.

Funeral Home Girl.

That's me.

It freaked all the kids out at school, who thought I was weird and scary and bizarre.

Bizarre, sure. But weird and scary?

Come on.

Just because my sister and I played hide-and-seek in the casket room and had full-on funerals for our Barbies after sending them to their deaths (Sis - remember Boulder Barbie? Microwave Barbie? Convertible of Death Barbie?) doesn't mean we're weird.

Ok. Maybe just a little.

One of my friend's dad's owned a car dealership - she had her favorite car picked out

Me? The golden oak casket with the pink and purple quilt design in it.

Or cryogenics. Or donating my body to science.

All acceptable dinnertable conversations.

Dinnertable conversations - in between dad taking bites of spaghetti (with his tie flipped over his shoulder and wearing a dishcloth so sauce wouldn't get on his dress shirt) between running back and forth from the kitchen to the funeral home lobby during visitation nights.

Visitation nights - nights when I got out of practicing the piano because the family paying their respects next door could hear it through the wall.

No running up and down the stairs during visitations, either.

No crazy, colorful Christmas lights all over the house. Just very tasteful and respectful candles in the windows and greenery around all of the columns outside.

No sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk in front of the house - the sidewalk leading to the funeral home entrance. The back driveway was ok...that was the loading and unloading area. I used to ride my bike on the ramp.

Generations of family has lived in my childhood home. My room used to be my cousin Laura's room, and before that, it was my Auntie Mary Eleanor's. Now, whenever my sister and her family visit my parents, my niece Adelyn uses that same room.

Circle of life.

In any case, we knew when to be respectful, and we knew when it was ok to laugh.

Like when dad would use his skull from mortuary school to help decorate the basement for our Halloween parties.

"This is what happens when you smoke, kids."

Which is why I've never smoked. Or went out drinking...no ethical or moral dilemma with that one, just the memory of seeing a cirrhosis-y liver when I was nine.

Thanks, Dad.

Father-daughter dates consisted of Taco Bell on the way to the St. Louis County medical examiner's office. I think my sister lost her Taco Bell after seeing a foot in a bucket at the morgue, which promptly ended her trips with dad. But to me...

It. Was. Awesome.

I wanted to grow up and be Dr. Mary Case - the forensic medical examiner who took time out of her busy day to let me hold an actual human brain...one of eight she had lined up in buckets filled with a saline solution on a stainless steel counter. Everything was so clean and precise and fascinating. Dr. Case had me hold that amazing brain and name every single part, since that happened to be the part of human anatomy I was studying in college at the time.

Maybe also why I looked a little too excited in high school anatomy.

(Picture of me smiling with my lab partner and our dissected cat deleted. Just picture the innards of a cat and an awesome 90's perm with poofy bangs. There you go.)

Everywhere I go, when people find out where I grew up, it never fails to lead to all sorts of questions.

Like, "Have you ever worked with your dad?"

Um, hello. Who did he have running all over town to get death certificates signed at doctor's offices the minute she turned 16 and got her driver's license?

Better yet, who got to learn how to drive...in a hearse?

With another totally fashionable early 90's hairstyle while wearing a white turtleneck under what could only possibly be my grandmother's pink sweatshirt?

Man, I was awesome.

Who also, while learning to drive in a hearse, ran over a curb in front of a parking lot full of people at the Assembly of God church right after a post-funeral luncheon?

My other favorite question: "Weren't you ever scared?"

Of what? What in the world is there to be scared of? If anything, our house was always just nice and quiet. There are no ghosts. No ghouls. No scary noises at night...unless you count dad snoring so loud that the walls shook.

Dad also used the business to promote non-funeral events.

Nothing like the Funeral Home marquee in the front yard announcing your personal life to the entire town of Sullivan.

Plus your mother making you all pose for multiple pictures while everyone driving by slowed to look.

Me and my girls. The first time they ever spent the night, I think they were a little freaked. I also think seeing my dad walk around in his underdrawers contributed to that.
Good times.

No one likes to talk about death, but we sure are curious about the behind-the-scenes aspect of it.

So bring your questions. I'm obviously not shy.

Grew up around death. Worked with my dad around it. Now helping comfort others as they make their journey towards it.

My life...consisting of end-of-life issues from birth to...well, you know.

Today I love: Being ok with being weird. Being ok with talking about the hard stuff. Being ok with eating a full meal while talking about the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility (aka "The Body Farm) and/or reading "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" (a really, really good read).

I know. I know. We've already established the fact that I'm weird.

02 September 2013


I'm feeling like I'm in a serious, reflective mood tonight - might be the storms, might be the couple patients of mine that I can't stop thinking about that might not make it to the end of the week.

Life. Fragile. One shot.

So here's what's been on my mind lately.

When I first started nursing, I thought I was going to save the world.
CPR. ALS. Codes. Adrenaline.

I slowly become less scared of people who came onto my floor mid-heart attack.

I learned to administer morphine. Adjust IV fluids. Interpret EKGs and telemetry monitors.

How to prep them for stents or open-heart procedures.

I slowly became less scared of codes - especially with my team of awesome nurses back in Mississippi. We worked so well together that we could just look at each other and know what each other was thinking. And the doctors...my first code consisted of our ER doctor telling me, "The only way you're going to learn is to get on up there!" He coached me through the chest compressions with patience and understanding.

I loved it. Loved loved loved my heart patients.

But roughly six months ago I decided to switch specialties.

A specialty that's usually met with a sad face and an "oh, how hard/sad/awful" response.

I'm a Hospice nurse.

I also like to think of it as being a geriatric and end-of-life care specialist.

Not everyone can do it.

Not everyone can face death every day.

Not everyone can come to terms with the fact that death doesn't mean a medical failure.

What do I do as a hospice RN?
  • As a Case Manager, I manage medications, diets, wound care, therapy, equipment, appointments, tests, caregivers and CNA's for my patients. I oversee every single aspect of their care. I work closely with our social workers and chaplains. We are a team, and it's a fabulous one.

  • I get to be a support to families. I get to watch the weight lift off their shoulders when I explain to them the disease process and what signs and symptoms to watch for - things that people in the hospital were too nervous to talk about.

  • I get to assess and care for patients who are critical - without the support of an on-site team. My hospital is in the trunk of my car...that's where I carry all of my supplies, my syringes, my wound care bandages, my catheters, my oxygen tubing. Being a road RN means you better make sure you're assessment skills are 110% - because it's you and you alone making the call on what you see when you walk into that house.

  • I have to prove myself as a competent and knowledgeable nurse to our hospice physicians. Like I mentioned above, I have to know my stuff forwards and backwards in order to call the doctors for new orders - whether it be to transfer a patient to the Hospice House for inpatient care, start Crisis Care inside the home, or calculate pill vs. liquid vs. injectable narcotics if my patients can't swallow anymore. If your doctor trusts you, it goes a long way when you call them sixteen times a day on your symptomatic patient.

  • Speaking of, just because a patient is on hospice doesn't mean we just sit back and wait for them to die. If they start to have shortness of breath, we're in there with oxygen, nebs, breathing treatments, morphine, etc. so they're not struggling. If their pain is out of control, despite the pain meds their on, we're in there adjusting dosages or adding meds for breakthrough until we can get them comfortable. A lot of my patients come onto our service completely alert and oriented, so many of my visits consist of education and keeping them stable as long as their bodies allow.

  • I get to be present with my families in their most raw and emotional moments. I'm the one they rely on to pronounce the time of death of their loved one. I'm the one comforting the family, bathing the body, calling the funeral home, getting all the paperwork done...all the family has to do is, well, whatever they want. One family of mine made calls to other family members to inform them of the death, then they sat back, broke out the photo albums and bottles of wine. They were able to reminisce and talk about their loved one without the stress of having to take care of arrangements and paperwork and waiting for the funeral home to show up - that's what I was there to do.
  • People are people. People are not a diagnosis. I refuse to go into someone's house and treat them like a cancer patient. An ALS patient. An Alzheimer's patient. By coming onto hospice, they're telling me they're done with treatments and chemo and millions of pills - they just want to feel like a human again in their own house. So you know what? We do that. We sit and talk and laugh (Yes! We laugh!) and just try to live as normal as the disease process allows. Yes, there are going to be days that aren't as pleasant. There are days you have to have your game face on and get down to business. But you also look your patient in the eyes, don't talk over them, don't talk down to them. You smile, you talk about grandkids and pets and favorite vacation places. It's all about creating relationships and trust.
I love my job. I think the best decision I ever made was getting out of the mad-house hospital and get into Hospice. I grew up around death. I'm comfortable with the subject. I feel like I've found a specialty I'm good at.

Hospice just reminds me that we're all headed somewhere. Life is fragile, and can end in so many different ways. We don't get to choose, but we can decide how we respond to those situations. I've seen every emotion on my patients and families faces - anger, denial, peace, acceptance, rage, combativeness, love, grief. Hospice is definitely emotional - maybe why I've turned to this blog tonight to get out some of my feelings.

Thanks for letting me get it out.

Today I love: Being able to walk. Being able to eat. Being able to hug my husband and pet my dogs. Life. Living. Purpose.