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Friday, April 29, 2011

Master's degree presentation

I realized that I have done a really bad job of taking pictures while I have been in school. There are alot of people that I am going to miss after graduation; we have been through so much together over the last 5 years, but I don't have a single picture of them! Last week I decided I needed to do better. I know it is a little late, but I am determined to take as many pictures as I can until graduation! I want to be able to look back ten years from now and remember what I barely lived through accomplished and who was there with me along the way.

This past Monday night I remembered to bring camera along for my final Master's Presentation. This was the last major hurdle I needed to jump in order to meet all the requirements for graduation just prior to returning to OH. When I decided to go back to school, I chose to do a joint degree program and complete my Master's of Clinical Research, MSCR, along with the Pharmacy Doctorate, PharmD, at the same time. This MSCR project has been in the works for the last 4 years. It was a long, tedious project that really frayed my nerves at times. At times I just wanted to say "forget it!" But this past week our group finally presented our final thesis presentation to faculty members to meet the last requirement for graduation. We took this picture just after we finished...we were both tired and relieved...mostly tired.

Leigh & Heather, MSCR presentation, April 25, 2011

We started this project a long time ago, lost one group member along the way, but we were determined to finish the degree! It was so much work, and it got even trickier when I moved to Ohio and was extremely limited as to how often I could meet etc....

Leigh was an awesome MSCR partner and is one of my best friends in pharmacy school. We were both 2 of the handful of people in our class who were older and married with children in pharmacy school.  He and his wife were two of our most loyal prayer warriors over the last 18 months when Chris was here in OH, and I was still there trying to finish up school and sell our house in NC. He also worked full-time through pharmacy school (which is terribly difficult to do), so many times he was often just as tired as I was. His words of encouragement lifted me up on many days, and I will always remember that! Finishing this project with him meant more to both of us because of all the trials and tribulations that we faced along the way.

Our MSCR project was titled "Survey of satisfaction of patients that receive influenza vaccinations in a retail pharmacy setting." And we may even get it published :) That is a pretty big deal for nerdy people. Ha!

It was a 45 minute presentation followed by about 20 minutes of discussion and questions. It can be a pretty intimidating process, and we have heard horror stories about how tough the faculty can be as they grill you with questions during the final presentation. We made it through alive, and it was not as bad as we were anticipating. We did it!! Wooo-Hoo! 

I am so happy it is DONE!  My last hurdle. DONE. I have officially completed all things school related. All I have left to do is dance like a crazy person walk across the stage at graduation (in 2 weeks) and pass my boards!! Did I mention I was done? ;)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

who's the boss

When Karsen came downstairs this morning, it hit me how much she looked like Samantha from "Who's the Boss"! I took a pic before they left for school! See....

What do you think? Maybe it was the jean jacket. Maybe it was the sequins on the jean jacket. Or the Chuck Taylors. You know you are getting old when you see fashion from the 1980s coming back around again. It was a full-circle moment of sorts. Ha!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

wordless wednesday....Easter morning 2011

home sweet home together

It goes without saying that I missed Chris and the kids so much last month when I was in NC. I was so happy to see them, and so happy to be home~that's a major understatement!

I also missed our house. I missed the comforts of home. My safe place. My time to unwind. I haven't genuinely relaxed since I left home a month ago!  I was never so happy as I was when I walked into the door last night after a 10 hour drive (that really should've been a 9 hour drive~curse you, bladder!) LOL!

The kids ran out to meet me when I pulled into the driveway and I was struck with HOW BIG and beautiful they both looked! Chris looked very happy AND very relieved to see me! Ha! I understand how he felt.

Last night when we were whispering sweet nothings to each other talking, he said he had no idea how I did the "single Mommy thing and Pharmacy school" for a year after he was transferred to OH. 3 weeks of single-Daddy time nearly did him in. It was nice to hear that he understood how hard it was for me.

On the other hand, I have no idea how he did the "alone in Columbus, OH" thing...I missed them so much! I felt lost, like I had lost a limb...something just didn't feel right. We just belong TOGETHER and that's all there is to it.

We are so looking forward to normalcy after graduation. We knew we would have to be creative to figure out how to meet my school requirements in NC while actually living in OH. It hasn't been easy. There have been times where I was so stressed out about how all the details would fall into place. But they did, one by one... and here we are. Very close to graduation.

Now we can breathe a sigh of relief and look ahead to more peaceful times. No more stints of living apart. No more upheaval. No more crazy back and forth to NC for school requirements! Just a normal life. A normal, ordinary routine. That will be a nice change of pace for a while. Finally. Home sweet home together.

"Where is home? Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. Home is where the heart's tears can dry at their own pace." ~ Vernon Baker

Monday, April 25, 2011

details about my non-traditional job!

HEY, everyone. I have been MIA in NC and haven't been able to post much! I am still so incredibly happy yall. So if you remember from this post, I had a wonderful interview last month before I left for NC.  I really started getting worried when the two week window had passed and I hadn't heard a peep from them....but I got a voicemail from HR almost 3 weeks after the interview. It was very generic voice message, saying she "wanted to discuss the position with me and could I please give her a call back". I got nervous instantly.

I tried to find a quiet place to hide in the hospital so I could call her back RIGHT AWAY. First of all she just asked me "if I was still interested in the position" and I said "YES" a little too loud,  LOL and she offered me the position. YAYYYY! I was jumping up and down as doctors walked by. LOL SO HAPPY!

They want me to start ASAP after graduation. They know I won't take the boards until June..they will pay me a modified rate until I get officially licencsed. The pay is competitive. :) This job is doing exactly what most pharmacists wish they could do, but there are not that many positions out there. I will be an ambulatory care clinic, seeing patients...helping modify their coumadin regimens. Talking with them about their all of their medications....really using what I have learned over the last 5 years!!

The hours are the BEST. 8am-4:30pm. They close an hour for lunch. TALK ABOUT FAMILY FRIENDLY! I will still be able to pick the kids up from after-school, help them with their homework, cook supper. Our afternoon routine will not change. I am so happy I can have the best of both worlds and on most days I will not have to pick between my job and my family. I LOVE BALANCE!! It is exactly what I have prayed for over the last few years.

I won't be standing up all day OR working 12 hours shifts (alot of them are 9am-9pm) which is what I would have been doing in retail pharmacy. (Ironically, Walmart called me the day after I accepted this position, and I felt very happy to tell them I was not interested, but thank you!) I also get to eat~SCORE! Anyone who is or knows a Pharmacist, then you know that on busy days it gets kinda tricky figuring out when to eat (in most settings) or how to run to the bathroom really quick without falling behind. I won't have to worry about that! YAY! I also won't have to deal with insurance headaches or high co-pay arguments. YAY!

I knew the whole time that I wanted to do something slightly non-traditional. I wanted to have the opportunity to talk to patients, make interventions, but at the same time I wanted a family friendly schedule. I didn't want to have to work nights or weekends like I would at the hospital or in a retail setting like Walmart. This is part of a hospital, so I would be an employee for this hospital...and get those benefits, but I will be in the free standing care clinic. It is strictly run by pharmacists. I will be the 6th Pharmacist in the group.

It is such a wonderful opportunity. I told my preceptor that I am on rotation with this month about the job, and she said "That's my dream job, do you know how lucky you are? You should feel very fortunate!". I DO! I applied to 15 jobs and this was my first interview....but this is the ONLY one of those 15 that I felt 100% excited and passionate about.

It's also the ONE that I thought I had such a slimmest chance of getting. I CANT BELIEVE IT!! Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers. I feel so blessed. I start June 6th. They also OK-ed the two vacations we have already planned for this summer, one in June and another in August. :) Both on the coasts of the Carolinas. Our family desperately needs a vacation! Ya'll know this! LOL.

I am so happy to know that I have a job lined up after graduation. Chris is so happy. We both cried a little bit. LOL. OK, I cried ALOT.  I graduate in 18 days~ and I feel like a load has been lifted....I am so happy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

wordless weekend--missing them

the sophisticated look

I miss my mini-me.
*the glasses are purely a fashion accessory. lol.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

breaking news from ohio

The bulbs have bloomed.....

red tulips, ohio spring 2011
Oh my word!
I LOVE TULIPS! This picture made me so happy!!

The kids are doing great with their Daddy.....
while I am here in NC finishing my last rotation.
 Dylan reportedly had two friends stop by last night.
Two friends that just happened to be female.
"Does Dylan K live here?
giggle giggle
"We just wanted to say HI!!!!"
giggle giggle

My mind is officially blown by this news,
maybe I will be able to talk more about this after I process
what this actually means. Sigh....
My first born.....*cue reminiscing music*

Karsen had a pizza party at school this week because
she read a gazillion pages over Sring Break
and wrote every single one of them in her reading log.
She ate 6 pieces of pizza at this party
and then went to gymnastics.
6 pieces of pizza + lil tiny belly + flipping/jumping on trampoline
=not having fun at gymnastics.
Let's just say that this did not end well.

Last night she had a sleepover with her best friend, Rachel
and was so excited and happy when
I talked to her on the phone.

I miss them...
but I AM SO HAPPY because

More details to come.
I will say that I am so excited, happy, amazed...
and feel incredibly BLESSED BEYOND BELIEF.
*see the biggest smile in the world*

Monday, April 11, 2011

country time

Country time.... and the living is easy.
First day of the strawberry picking season.
Spring 2011.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

a perfect weekend

It's been a week since I packed my bags to stay here in NC for the month of April. I spent my first week staying with my Aunt Brenda and family. It was a good week of catching up and late nights and way too much food to mention. I could tell they have been missing me! It was nice to just sit back and catch up on everything. Aunt Brenda's house used to be my favorite place to visit when I was growing up, so it was nice to come back for a little while. But, I can't sleep. Ugh.

So, this weekend Chris arrived in NC to visit his parents and pick up the kids from their Spring Break!  Dylan and Karsen had a wonderful and fun week with thier grandparents while I have been on rotation. I was so happy to see my whole family on Friday night. It had only been a week, but that is a long time to go without seeing your favorite people in the world. Dylan and Kasren both looked like they had grown two inches. Sheesh!

We had a wonderful weekend! Friday night we ate at one of our favorite places! READ: THE BEST SWEET TEA ON FACE OF THE EARTH!.....I promise! Then when we got back to his parents' house we were both tired.....we ended up just rocking on the front porch until the sun went down. It was wonderful being outside (without freezing to death)....and just talking and catching up. It was a peaceful way to end our crazy, hectic week. Friday night I slept like a rock. I am pretty sure I am was COMATOSE. It was the best!

Cousins at dusk; Karsen, Leigha, and Hailey
On Saturday morning, we all slept in. HALLELUJAH! Then we spent more time outside, playing with cousins, fishing in the pond out behind his parent's house, walking down dirt roads, smelling the wisteria, looking at the lil' chicks in the pen, talkig with his Daddy about plans for this year's vegetable garden, and then swinging on the front porch some more. In the afternoon we went shopping for summer clothes for the kids (Dylan really has grown about 5 inches since last summer)! After that, we spent the rest of the day grilling out and spending time with the whole family. The kids had a blast! It was quite possibly the most perfect weekend.

Which made it even more difficult to tell them goodbye this morning.....  :( Sad face.

Chris and the kids are back on the road, OHIO bound and I am on my way to do homework in preparation for my second week of this last rotation! I miss them already, but I am so thankful that I got to spend this weekend with them!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

almost wordless wednesday

Nap time with her friend, 2004

Monday, April 4, 2011

10 reasons I am happy...

I am so happy to be back in NC for my last Pharmacy rotation. I couldn't have planned this any better if I had tried. Originally, I had this rotation scheduled for September 2010, but I really wanted to go be with my family when they moved to OH. I wanted to be there to help the kids get transitioned to their new school and home. Now I am back in NC to make up this month. It just so happens that it is also absolutely BEAUTIFUL as Spring has definitely arrived here in the south! Here are the top 10 reasons I am so happy to be back in North Carolina!

    dogwood, blue sky & sunglasses
  1. Dear Dogwood trees,  I have missed you! You have my heart. Love, Heather.
  2. The azaleas are blooming.
  3. The sky is so BLUE!
  4. My accent is NOT the countriest one around. Shocker!
  5. There is no shame in eating fried food (every once in a while). Yum, hush puppies and sweet tea.
  6. 85 degreessssss........Yes, EIGHTY-FIVE! OCHENTA Y CINCO, mis amigos!
  7. Wearing my sunglasses!
  8. Driving with the windows down. Vitamin D repletion in process.
  9. Seeing FaMiLy, FrIeNdS and other familiar faces.
  10. Being done with my last first day of my LAST rotation ever! 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

North Carolina bound!

I will be in NC for the entire month of April for my last Pharmacy school rotation. Can you believe it? We leave bright and early in the morning. I can't wait to see this sign as we come rolling out of the West Virginia and Virginia mountains.

The first weekend will be filled with visiting friends and family, and then I start working on Monday. Dylan and Karsen are very excited about seeing some familiar faces and spending the week with (and getting spoiled endlessly by) their grandparents.

With Nama, February 2011
I am just excited to leave my down-filled coat HERE. Ha! I will also leave Ohio with snow on the ground, and TO BE SURE it won't be here when I get back in May?! Ha!

Please pray for Chris as he has Daddy-duty for 3 weeks without me. I will miss them terribly. Please bear with me if my posts get a little sappy as the month goes on...I am sure he and the kids will enjoy their "quality time" together. :) I'll see y'all when we get down south.

Deciduous Heather