Friday, August 29, 2014

The Top 7 Reasons Why I Love Working with my Husband

Let me clarify, I don't actually work with my husband.  My husband is a Nurse on the same unit in the hospital that I work as a Nursing Assistant.  We never work the same shifts, but we do work with all the same patients and co-workers.
Working outside the home has never been a life goal for me.  I have enough to keep me busy at home.  I like it that way.  Josh likes it that way.  But we have goals, and I need some sanity outside of the house.  Thus we came to the agreement that it probably wouldn't hurt for me to get out of the house a little bit and make some money while I was at it.
I knew that teaching wasn't an option for me.
I love children.
I love working with children.
I do not love working in the classroom setting with children, at least not in a paid position.
So we started discussing options.  The decision was made for me to return to school and train to be a CNA. I ended up loving it way more that I thought I would! I applied to many different units at the hospital, got interviews with two units and eventually chose to work on the same unit as my husband.

Side note:  It's probably not wise for all married couples to work together!

So what have I noticed in the past couple of months as a working woman, specifically with my husband?

Here are my top 7 reasons Why I Love Working with my Husband (in no particular order).

1.  It gives me a greater appreciation for his job as a nurse.  My husband is almost a different man at work.  He is organized, smart and manages his time.  He delegates tasks and makes sure he is informed about all the illnesses he deals with.  Not that he's not most of these at home....cough....cough....like he says, "Why would I be when I know you can do it for me!?"  It's neat to see all the hard work that the nurses do everyday and know that this is what my husband has to deal with full time. I understand now!  And I'm sure the same goes for him.  He's an awesome dad, but now he's working even harder at home when I'm away.

2.  It makes logistics easier.  Balancing both his and my schedule can be a little crazy sometimes.  Are we each able to get enough sleep?  Who has the kids?  What's going on this week?  Can I pick up an extra shift?  Everything is all organized in one place, on one team that understands our situation.  We can both check each other's work schedules and easily plan around each other.  It would work out if I was on a different unit, it's just so much easier that we're on the same one.

3.  I'm ok with him working at home.  Before I started working I never really got frustrated when he had to work at home, I mean, not really frustrated....maybe a little....  While it does getting tiring after a while, now I know exactly what's on his plate.  Or at least I have a connection with the patients on the unit, so I know that if he is working at home, that means he's helping the patients, and they mean a lot to me.  And that's ok.

4. We get to work as a team, separately.   Josh and I have not always been known to be the greatest team players. I have to say, being married for 10 years has definitely helped, and having 5 kids.  We've kinda been forced to play nicely or fail.  Working separate shifts allows us to play nicely on the nursing team, but not have the awkwardness of working at the same time.  I mean, what if I messed up?  What if I thought he was a jerk that day?  We don't need that stuff on the unit!  This way none of our home-life baggage is brought to the work site.  Not that we ever disagree...

5.  He keeps my work load balanced.  Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to go head first into things, many times without thinking and most of the time overwhelming myself completely!  Josh knows exactly what my job entails and what is normal for my position.  So he knows when I come home with some crazy idea for something to help with a patient, he can tell me to stop or go ahead with it.  He helps me regulate my work load so that I don't drive myself crazy.  After 10 years of marriage, I trust him.  I know that he's looking out for my best interests.  So if he tells me to calm down or back off, I know I should listen.

6. He helps me problem solve.  Healthcare is a new job area for me.  My degree is in education.  Although Wake Tech absolutely prepared me for my job, there are still minor skills specific to our unit that I am thankful for Josh's wisdom.  He's able to tell me what he's observed other NA's doing that might work well for me.  I am able to ask him specific questions about taking vitals or other basic cares that I know he will give me an honest answer to.  I like my job to be efficient and helpful to the nurses, so it's nice having a nurse at home with me that I can ask questions to make sure I am doing a service for the nurses and not being a hindrance.

7. We have the chance to provide better care for our patients.  That's what it's all about, right? We want our patients to get the best care they can.  Having both the perspective of the nurse and nurse aide, we can both advocate in different areas for the patients.  This results in more complete care.  I think the patients enjoy joking about us at our expense as well, which results in higher morale for the patients, and for that, I don't mind being the butt of jokes!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Preparation for Dormition

Dormition will always hold a special place in my heart.  It was on the Feast of Dormition two years ago that our family joined the Orthodox church.  Especially fitting for new converts still a bit uncomfortable with the Theotokos!  I've grown a lot since then!  
Fasting seasons are a bit harder to teach to my little ones since they don't observe the same fasting guidelines that Josh and I do.  They would rather not eat meat in the first place!  So when I saw this cute countdown board on Pinterest, I knew it would be a great way to show my kids that we are preparing for something really special.  Besides, who doesn't love a good countdown!?  
My original idea came from here, but of course, when I got to Michael's there were no felt pieces the size that I needed.  Since I had my 3 babies with me, I used my quick creative juices (complements of the two cups of coffee this morning) and came up with this idea.  The concept is to add a new flower to the board each day until Dormition.  The board is made of foam, which I taped to the wrong colored felt board I was going to use to make it stronger.  I took pipe cleaners cut to about an inch long and poked them through the foam (before I attached it to the felt board).  I curled them around so they would stay in place with the hopes that they would look like the center of a flower.  Each day we will stick a new flower on the board.  The foam flowers I found just happened to have a hole right in the middle, and they were also on sale, Win-Win!  As you can see, I also mounted a color print of the Icon of the Dormition as well as the Troparion.




On the back of the board I taped the Bible verses found on the above link.  There is a scripture to read for each day of the fast and the actual feast day as well.  This way, everyday when we put on our new flower, I can quickly reference the reading for the day.


We will also be doing some celebrating on the Feast.  I will blog about that as well (Lord willing), but just in case you want to prepare ahead of time....  We will be coloring icons of the feast, listening to our Theotokos songs from Gigi, making blue flowers from tissue paper for our icon corner, hopefully playing with some hand made manipulatives, and we will most definitely be feasting that evening to celebrate not only Dormition, but also our 2 year Orthoversary!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Feast of the Transfiguration

Training my children to know and fall in love with the Lord is my main goal in life.  There are many things that I want to teach them in this life, but if I fail in this area, I have failed completely.

Lately I have been collecting some resources and tools to help me in this lofty goal.  There are so many beautiful opportunities in the Orthodox faith, after two years, I am still learning how to take advantage of this in my home.

With no better time to start than the present, today we set out to fully celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration.  Yesterday I spent my day cutting and laminating this Liturgical timeline for our wall.  It has all of the major feasts and also the feasts that are important to our family (like our Patron Saints).  I really wish I could remember where I found the exact link to the pictures you see on my wall, but I can't remember where I found them, but you could always print some off from here.  Although, the cute ones I found have scripture for each Feast and an activity.  Google search, I bet you can find it ;)

Our timeline of the church year
So we started off our day by reading our daily Gospel from the Daily Reading App while eating breakfast. Of course it was the passage from the Transfiguration.  After I cleaned up the table, I made copies of the Icon of the Transfiguration from my new book A Way of Life:  Introducing Your Child to the Orthodox Faith (of which I can't seem to find a good link, unless you want to pay $125 on Amazon).  They also include a simplified version of the story that I read while they colored.  We also listened to the Transfiguration song from the CD Celebrate the Feasts by Gigi.  It's always nice to have a good song get stuck in your head for the rest of the day!



Our church celebrates most Feasts with a Divine Liturgy in anticipation the evening before (unless it's on the weekend).  So we snacked on some blessed grapes as we colored too!





Based on the suggestion from Following a Sacred Path by Elizabeth White, we took a walk outside around our neighborhood to find things that change to help us remember that Transfiguration means change.

A bird egg
A ripe tomato


Roses

more tomatoes




Flowering trees
Our raspberry bushes

And while I was Googleing around trying to find links for the timeline, I stumbled upon this great activity!  A Transfiguration Box!  This beauty will be great to pull out each year for the kids to play with.  My three oldest girls helped me work on this during nap time.  We have:  An icon of Moses and Elijah, a playdough Mt. Tabor, a cloud that reads "This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well please.", a ray of light, stick figures on Peter, James and John, the icon of the Transfiguration and the Troparion.  Makayla was very bothered that there was so stick Jesus, so if you want to make a Jesus, that probably wouldn't be a bad idea!


  And finally, once I thought I was done, the girls asked if they could paint. Since we had already made a big mess, I figured 'Why not?'  So here they are, painting.


 One out of three actually completed the icon.  Their friend came over while they were painting and Makayla was able to correctly explain to her about Transfiguration.  Success?  ABSOLUTELY!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Clean Monday

It is Lent again.  I pretty much feel like it completely snuck up on me this year! Last year I had recipes stocked, supplies for my kids and I had done lots of reading about what was to come. 
Not so much this year.  With 5 kids, me in classes and Josh working overtime, I just haven't had time to prepare.  But that's okay, because Lent arrived, whether I was ready or not!

I have to say, Forgiveness Vespers was still so amazing this year!  There is just something completely humbling to ask forgiveness of all of your Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  It was really special this year getting to forgive our first ever Godchildren.  Never would have dreamed that one!  If you don't know about Forgiveness Vespers, make sure to check out my post from last year (our first experience) here.

I did remember last year reading about something called Clean Monday.  The date had already passed, so I missed it, but I stuck it in the back of my mind to tackle this year. With no advance planning really needed, I knew we could give it a try.  Basically, the concept is to deep clean your home as you prepare for some deep cleaning of the soul.  It's only been about 5 years since this house was deep cleaned, so it was getting to be about time :)

I did have some high expectations of the day. The house was all going to be sparkling when we were done, and yes "we." The whole family was going to clean, probably while we lovingly sang hymns together.....

But what really happened was this:

1.  The 3 babies cried all night.  It was a tough night!  We had to divide and conquer. Josh ended up with one set of babies, I took another and we were still both up much of the night.  So my goal of getting up at 6:30am to get a head start on the day did NOT happen.  I begrudgingly got out of bed at 8:30am and stumbled through getting breakfast and coffee.

Thank you, God, for the reminder that I'm not in control.  And that regardless, Your way is the right way and the day still even greater rewards than I imagined!

2. Once I got down to the nitty gritty in the kitchen, I realized...this would not be a one day job.  We would be lucky to get the kitchen done.  And you know what, we didn't even get that done.  I scrubbed all the cabinets, all the walls, cleaned out the oven and wiped down all the blinds.  It was a very tedious job. I still wanted to tackle the fridge and microwave, even just have clean counter tops.  But at the end of the day, Josh and I are pleased with the work that was accomplished.

Thank you, God, for the reminder that no matter what my expectations are of Lent, I probably won't meet half of them.  40 days is just not long enough to clean out my entire soul.  I will get some good work done, and the work will be tedious. And I pray that by the end of Lent, God will be pleased with the work that was accomplished.

3.  I was actually pretty surprised at how helpful my oldest two were.  They were pretty excited to be helping to clean and that it was an "Orthodox thing."  I probably over estimated there cleaning abilities, but I was thankful for the teaching opportunities we had today and hopefully a wonderful tradition has been started.  The three youngest on the other hand....I just had these visions of them with dust rags in their hands, merrily wiping down the baseboards.  Instead, they screamed and fought all day and I did a lot of cleaning with a baby on my lap...or two.

Thank you, God, for the reminder that I need to live my life as an example to my children in everything that I do.  That even though there are good tasks to be done, the task is not the most important thing.  My kids are.  And loving them through this whole process of Lent is very important.  It's also important to teach them the heart and spirit of Lent, and I was very thankful to be able to do that today.

4.  Josh and I worked ALL DAY LONG!  It was tiring.  We got dirty.  And at the end of it, you really can't tell we did anything at all.  Unless you lived here, you really wouldn't notice the missing food  and milk on the walls or all the dust off the blinds or the drips off the cabinets.  But we do!  And it sure does feel nice to have them gone!

Thank you, God, for the reminder that throughout this process of Lent, no one but me will see the work being done.  No one really should see the work being done.  I am so thankful for the time you gave me today to do totally monotonous chores that gave me the opportunity to pray and think about the fall of Adam and what that means in my life. Thank you for the slow process to help me see the cleansing that needs to take place in my soul. 

I am really looking forward to this Lent.  I've gotten to the point where I crave the spiritual growth.  I need a time of purging the soul and renewing the heart.  Last year I felt as if I was merely going through the motions trying to grasp all I could to understand what this new thing called "Lent" was all about.  This year I am ready to be transformed.  Thank you, God!

Friday, July 5, 2013

June in our Home

June.

We get a brief break from family chaos this month.  A little break from birthdays.  But of course, there is never a dull moment in the Bradley house!








Abby is growing up way too fast!  We are so glad that she is weight bearing!  Some of you might not remember, but Julianna was a very late walker and didn't want to do much with her legs.  Abby will hold on to something standing up and is even trying to figure out crawling.  Right now, she can only manage to go backwards, which is just fine with me!


Like our dinner by candlelight?  We has some fierce storms this month.  Although this storm only lasted about 5 minutes, it was very powerful.  We ended going 27 hours without power and having to do some creative thinking on how to keep our 5 gallons of raw milk and gazillion dollars of frozen strawberries safe!  Of course, Josh was working, so I had to handle most of  it myself.  It's a good thing my parents live near by and we could camp out there!


I got to run in my second obstacle race, this time a 10K.  I had a blast!  It was put on by the friendliest volunteers and was pretty low-key, so I felt very at ease and had a great time!



My cheerleaders.  It was so nice to have my family there to cheer me on!  It really makes a difference knowing they were there for me.  It must have worked too, I came in 1st place out of all the women running the 10K!


Believe it or not, this is the first time our family has gone out for dinner as a family of 7 all by ourselves.  We don't get out much!  Nothing says family better than some good Mexican!


I cracked up once I realized that they had Mickey Mouse plates!  Do you see his head above my refried beans??


Life can be exhausting.



Our good friends, Missy and Erik, whom we met when we lived in the "brown" Apartments moved away this month.  We were very sad to see them go, but we know they will be very happy living closer to family.  We had them over for dinner and fun before they moved.