Monday, August 11, 2014

Louisiana

As part of my occupational therapy schooling, we are required to complete two 3 month fieldworks, which are like unpaid internships. I spent my first 3 months from February to May in Lafayette, Louisiana working at The Center for Work Rehabilitation at the Fontana Center. They specialize in a very specific kind of occupational therapy - industrial rehab. I spent my days with guys who were going out to work in the oil field testing them to make sure they were fit for duty and could fulfill all their essential job functions. We also taught them proper body mechanics and lifting techniques so that they would be safe on the job and avoid any type of work-related injury. I also completed several Functional Capacity Evaluations, which are 1-3 day assessments to determine if a person is fit to return back to work after an on-the-job injury or an illness that required them to take a significant amount of time off work. I had some pretty neat opportunities, like visiting an oil rig, analyzing a Pepsi factory and special ed buses for ergonomics, learning about helicopters, and attending a state-wide council to fight for the OT scope of practice.






I was incredibly blessed to be able to live with a family from church for those 3 months. They housed me, fed me, treated me like one of their own, and kept me company while I was missing home. I feel forever indebted to them.

While working about 60 hours a week I rarely had time for sight-seeing and enjoying the Louisianan culture, but every once in a while an opportunity presented itself.

I was lucky enough to have the chance to experience Mardi Gras. The parades and festivities last for weeks. I collected more beads than I could count.









Brad was able to come visit me during his spring break, and I was able to take some time off work so that we could visit LSU and gaze upon Mike the Tiger.





Mike's transport from his habitat to the stadium. 









 
All the following pictures are from the Greek amphitheater on campus where the movie Pitch Perfect was filmed. 






These two pictures are from a little park just a few miles from campus.


Brad and I were able to visit Avery Island were Tabasco Sauce is made. They also have a pretty large "jungle garden" with lots of trails, birds, and gators.











 
Those 3 months were the hardest of my life between having an incredibly difficult fieldwork and being away from home and only seeing Brad twice. And to be honest, I haven't seen any sort of immediate benefit, but I have no doubt that one day I will be grateful for the time I spent working in Louisiana.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Year in Review: 2013

Well, hello there, blog. It's been a while. Over a year in fact. There have been many times I've let this blog slip - not posting as often as I'd like or see fit, but this is just down right pathetic. A whole year of our lives that I could have (and should have) documented has passed. I most likely won't remember those little moments that at the time meant so much to me or the events that we attended with friends or the hard times we went through, all because I didn't write about them. It's quite sad. But thankfully, we take a good deal of pictures, and going through all of those precious photos from the past year stirred up some sweet memories that I just have to write about or those times will be lost forever.
Per tradition (albeit almost 4 months late), here is my annual overview of our year - 2013.
Here are the links to our previous years' reviews: 2009  2010  2011  2012

JANUARY
Brad begins practicing dental work on his very first patient - me! Killer looks on curiously wondering if I'll make it through alive. Thankfully, Brad has learned A LOT since this first live rubber dam practice round. Brad brings Bob's (his mannequin from school) mouth home several times this month to practice on some teeth that don't have a head attached.
We also perfect our studying skills and poor Killer wishes we were smarter and didn't need to spend so much time with our noses in our books.
Killer is as cute as ever finding the sunniest spot in the house and soaking up the rays.
She also spent many a day climbing up over our jerry-rigged barricade looking for squirrels outside.
And no matter how cold it got outside she'd jump in the river for a swim during our walks.

 
FEBRUARY

Brad's nightstand frequently looks like this from all the late night anatomy studying sessions.
Brad and Killer takes lots of naps together cuddling under their favorite blanket on the couch.
We celebrate Brad's 28th birthday at his favorite hole-in-the-wall - Waffle House. We also made homemade guacamole in his new pestle and mortar.
Killer learns the art of patience while we tease her with her all-time favorite toy - a tennis ball.
While grocery shopping at Kroger one night, Brad found some ice cream that had tons of ice on the top, so he decided to blow it all off to make snow since we didn't have any all winter. My phone wasn't quick enough to get the snow blowing part, but I got this beaut.


MARCH
Brad eats peanut butter and Killer licks her lips in anticipation, hoping she'll get the last little bit left on the spoon.
Brad and Killer play before church.

I continue my volunteer work with Blue Ribbon Riders - a therapeutic horse riding farm run by an occupational therapist.

Amy and I make her very first homemade apple pie!
Killer and I spent some quality time laying on the back porch in the sun.
 We go on walks down the Augusta canal.
Brad scrapes up his hip playing ultimate frisbee. He sacrificed his body while diving for a point-scoring catch. Unfortunately, the stars didn't align and he missed the catch, but he got a heck of a battle wound.

APRIL
My beautiful sister Brittney graduates college and is officially a BYU alumni.
 We get way too much pollen.
We visit my parents in Tennessee during spring break, and I take Brad to Gatlinburg for his first time. I get the tips of my hair dyed, and we take Killer and my sister, Elizabeth's dog Sammy on a beautiful hike.
 We get kayaks!
And I find this creepy salamander in our back yard.
 

 MAY
We celebrate our 4th anniversary in Pensacola, FL. We play on beach and read and Brad builds teeth out of sand. We also went a neat swamp walk, but no alligator sightings.
On our way home from the beach, we stopped in Atlanta to get a new puppy! A gorgeous blue-eyed Australian Shepard, whom we named Olive.
 We took a trip to south Georgia to go kayaking and camping.
We find someone's pet python in our backyard, and I make Brad kill it.
And we celebrate Killer's 3rd birthday.
And just because this is adorable.
video

JUNE
Olive visits the vet.
I learn to tie-dye and wear my gear to anatomy lab.

Olive gets cuter and cuter, while Killer decides what to make of her.
 Killer introduces Olive to her favorite swimming hole.
 Brad goes fishing for the first time ever, and I get bit by ants.

JULY
Killer starts to like her baby sister a little bit more. And we take our very first family picture.
Brad starts practicing giving injections at school.
I go to Camp TBI. A week long summer camp for kids that have suffered traumatic brain injuries. I spent the week taking care of two campers. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I wouldn't change it for the world. (Build-A-Bear donates a stuffed animal for every child that went to camp. I will forever sing their praises.)
 Olive learns to climb into the back windshield of the car, and Killer poses for as many pictures as I want to take of her.
 Amy and I go to the dental lab with Brad and volunteer to be his guinea pigs.
 Another first for Brad - crab legs!
Brad had his white coat ceremony this month as well. It was a wonderful event signifying his procession towards being a dentist.


AUGUST
My sister and her friend Jacie came to visit, and I took them to Folley Beach, Charleston, SC. We were having tons of fun, and then I got encountered a jelly fish who didn't appreciate me jumping through a wave onto him.
 Olive starts loosing her baby teeth. Oh happy day!
 Brad and I go to a rockin' 90s throw-back party.
 I start making splints in school.
We visit my grandparents and go on a hike to a waterfall right by their house, and we make sure the dogs get to go swimming as often as they like.
We drive a lot this month visiting family while we're out of school, and the dogs learn how to sleep very well in the car.
We end up in the hospital with Brad over some pulled back muscles. But that didn't stop him from studying for a final.

SEPTEMBER
Killer has a terrible allergic reaction to one of her vaccinations. We gave her tons of Benadryl, but we ended up going back to the vet so they could shoot her up with tons of antihistamines.
 Killer and Olive are adorable cuddling together on the bed.
I cut 21 inches off my hair and donate it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. (For anyone contemplating hair donation, please look into Pantene. They make wigs for women suffering from breast cancer, and they give them away for FREE. Locks of Love charges their clients for the wigs they make.)
Brad throws me a wonderful surprise 25th birthday party with my friends at the drive-in movie. And my aunt made me a delicious and beautiful cake.
Two days after my birthday my brother, Phillip, and his girlfriend, Emily, had a beautiful and perfect little girl - Rylie. Brad and I went to visit as soon as we possibly could.

OCTOBER
Brad went on a solo camping trip to the mountains and slept in the back of his truck.
Early in the month, my brother Thomas had a bad skateboarding accident where he hit his head, fracturing his skull and sustaining a traumatic brain injury. My professors were beyond understanding, and I was able to take some time off school to go home. I spent many a night and day in the ICU, wearing my T4 visitors badge, and taking pictures for Thomas to see when he was able. The dogs and I traveled a lot back and forth to my parents' house. A few times Brad was able to come with us as well. Please make sure you, your children, and anyone else you know wears a helmet whenever they do anything with the potential for injury. Helmets can save your life (and your brain)! If you'd like updates on Thomas, check out his facebook page.

These are all the monitors he was initially hooked up to.
Just a pic of his feet hanging off the bed. Thomas is 6'4". And while they had the bed extended as far as it could go, whenever he had to be shifted in bed his feet was occasionally hang off the end.
Brittney catching a quick nap in the waiting room.

My visitor's badge. I probably had one on every jacket.

When we weren't driving, we were at home studying, sleeping, or playing.



 
 

But we did a lot of driving.




At the end of the month, I had a pediatric fieldwork in Augusta. For Halloween, we got to go trick-or-treating with the kids around the hospital. I decided to tape black spots on my red scrubs and go as a ladybug.
 
 
NOVEMBER
In November, Thomas gets transferred to an inpatient rehab hospital where he begins to return to his old self. One night my dad take a break from the hospital life and go to dinner. While at dinner a lady came up to us and offered us free tickets to the Tennessee basketball game. She said her work gave them to her, and she couldn't use them and her kids didn't want them. So we gladly took the tickets and the free parking pass. It was a nice break.
 
The girls are as cute as ever, and Olive continues to be her destructive self. We have nick-named her "destructo-dog". 




My OT class decided that we wanted to throw the faculty and staff of our department a Thanksgiving lunch to show them how much we appreciated all that they had done for us up until this point. I offered to cook the turkey. I was planning on collected a dollar from all my classmates and going to the grocery store to buy one. However, one of the gentlemen that is affiliated with our school owns some turkeys and raises them for fun. So one of my classmates (who frequently hunts) asked if we could have one of his turkeys for our dinner. We were told we could! A few days later the gentleman called my classmate, Charlie, and said one of his turkeys had escaped, so Charlie needed to come catch it and we could keep that one for our dinner. Charlie calls me up and Brad and I meet him to go turkey hunting. We shot the turkey, defeathered, gutted him, and threw him in a cooler. I then took our prize home, spent 3 hours pulling out feather quills, brined him, and cooked him. This was a stinking big turkey. Before we prepped him, he probably weighed 40 pounds. I couldn't get him in and out of the oven by myself. While everyone enjoyed the turkey, from now on, I will be content with simply purchasing a frozen bird for 40 cents a pound.




 

DECEMBER
One of the first things we did in December was get Killer's teeth cleaned. You're supposed to get your dog's teeth cleaned every 2 years. We certainly hadn't done that, seeing as how Killer was 3 1/2, and they were pretty nasty. So I dropped her off at the vet at 7:30am and waited all day to go back and pick her up. Finally around 3pm I called asking when we could come get her. They had to put in an IV, so when she was returned to us she had a nice little bandage to show for her spotlessly clean teeth.
 

One of the many things I love about owning our own home is that we can have a real live Christmas tree every year. And we have very tall ceilings, so we can get tall trees that look beautiful and full up a whole room. This year we got our tree at Costco. It was about 8 feet tall and cost $30. And it was a beautiful full tree. If you're in the market for a tree this Christmas, definitely check out Costco. You do have to go pretty early though, because they sell out quick.

We spent the month of December enjoying our break from school, giving the doggies their own stockings, and being flabbergasted by how much Killer seemed to like Olive (at times).








We also went to the REI garage sale in Asheville, NC while visiting my grandparents. It's a first-come first-serve sale, so we got there unbelievable early, set up our sleeping bags and waited until 10:00 when the sale opened.

For New Year's Eve/Day we decided to go beach camping. The dogs LOVED it, and Brad thoroughly enjoyed it as well because there were lots of scraggly trees and driftwood to take pictures of.
I love this picture. This is how our dogs play. Mouths open, yelling at each other.

Olive chasing seagulls.



 
2013 was a great year for us. We worked hard, studied hard, and played hard. We added to our little family and got another year of our educations under our belt. We experienced great tragedy and witnessed earth-shattering miracles in more ways than pictured here. In 2013 we were blessed beyond measure.