Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pep Talk

So I am obviously new at this whole blog thing. I am trying new things to make my page look fun, different and express who I am, however, I think I am failing miserably in comparison to all the other really adorable blogs that I stumble upon. So I spent a good deal of today trying new layouts...One day I hope to have a fabulous looking blog like some of the people I follow. A girl can dream right?

On the other hand if you have not see the video for this precious little boy PLEASE watch A Pep talk from Kid President to You. It is guaranteed to make your day better and how can this face not make you smile? My older brother, James shared it with me today and I just fell in love!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Last week was super busy with school and lack of precptorship due to "ice" on the roads. Oh look, another reason I hate snow in North Carolina...

This week brings me to some very important countdowns!

8 Months Until We Say, "We DO!"

Officially we have 7 months and 30 days (as of today). That is 241 days or 34 weeks or 5808 hours or however you want to look at it. Nevertheless, I will become Mrs. Rice in roughly 348, 480 minutes.

It seriously makes me so giddy just thinking about it. I know I should be worried about the caterer, DJ, drinks, decorations, flowers, favors, bridesmaids dresses, groomsmen wear, transportation, invitations, reservations, and all the other fun things I still have left to do, but the only thing I can think about is how happy I am going to be when we have those bands on our left hands and our new title of Mr. and Mrs. Jared Rice! I mean seriously, could that sound any better?? Well, after dreaming of marrying this man for the past 5 years the answer is no! 

He is still finding ways (probably not on purpose) to make me fall in love with him over and over! For example, last Monday we had just finished dinner and were cleaning the kitchen. Jared took the frying pan to dump the oil outside off to the side of the house (no, I don't know if that is environmentally friendly) when he saw an older woman outside of our house looking for her dog who apparently ran into our backyard. Well this little sucker was quick, but Jared still tried his hardest to catch up with him. I ran in and got some treats to try and lure the dog in close. Well by the time I got out there Jared had just wrangled the sneaky thing into his arms. The lady was so thankful she was almost in tears. She told us that this was the third time today he has gotten out and Jared was the first person to stop and help her! I don't know why but this act of kindess from my fiancĂ© just warmed my heart :)

First "official couple" Picture in May 24, 2008 (when I was fat and Jared was skinny) 

16 More Days Left of Nursing School!

Oh yes, the day has FINALLY come (when the countdown is below 20)! Only 16 days and 16 hours left according to the countdown on my phone! Phew, and what a road this has been...

Today, I took my LAST "quiz" (which are really 50 question tests, just sounds better/easier for them to say quiz to us) of this program today! I was feeling very unprepared since I had taken the weekend to watch NC State stomp the crap out of UNC-CH (haha) in basketball on Saturday night. Then I had preceptorship on Sunday night (which was freaking awesome because I saw a patient's abdomen open and saw peristalsis in the bowel). But, I ended up doing great on the "quiz." Phew, now just for the final!

On top of the quiz today we also took an "NCLEX Predictor Test." This is a test that they give nursing students to let us see the likelihood of if we will pass the NCLEX or not. Really, I think it is just way for the school to cover their butts if anyone fails the boards. So on top of only getting 9 hours of sleep in the past two days, taking a quiz I was unprepared for, I had to take a test that would tell me how well I was going to perform on the biggest test of my LIFE! Yep, I was freaking out. It was 180 question and at about question number 77 I thought I was about to fall asleep. After as I was waiting for my results I was pretty sure I had had done awful. However, it predicts that I have a 97% chance of passing the NCLEX the first time! I am pretty darn excited about this news because I actually plan on getting a good nights sleep before I take the real test and I guess I will do a little studying before :)

Well, just when I thought this day couldn't get any better, I got an email from Cone Health in Greensboro, NC about setting up a phone interview for a job in their New Graduate Nurse Academy! It is basically a mini extension of nursing school/extended orientation into a real life nursing job. I applied for positions in both the ICU and ED academies! The only downside, the academy doesn't start until July 2013. I have other applications out there for positions that start earlier. Ultimately  I know I will end up where I need to be.

First picture in my awful, ugly, tacky nursing school uniform in March 2012!

More Fun Countdowns...

4 more shifts/days 

I am done with preceptorship!

24 days 

NC State stomps plays UNC-CH (again)

26 days 

Caitlin's (aka My Maid of Honor and Best Friend) Birthday

30 days

Layne's (bridesmaid and one of my best friends) Birthday

43 days 

My 23rd Birthday!!!!

45 days 

Our engagement party (finally!)

I am SO excited for all the things that are coming up! But, mainly I need to be focusing on finishing school, preparing for and taking the NCLEX, and finding a job! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Snow Day

Unlike most of the North Carolina residents and Wilmington natives, I strongly dislike snow. People freak out about it and I just don't see the point. Maybe if I liked the mountains more I would like snow more. But, my favorite place is the beach with warmth, not cold and ice. Ok, I am done being a pessimist (as my mother called me last night)...

There is one person in our little family that was happy about the snow. Our child dog, Beauregard, just loves it! I have to admit I really do enjoy taking pictures of him and watching him play in it. As of this most recent snow fall Beau has officially seen snow four different times in his life. That is pretty spectacular for a dog who lives in North Carolina. 

Here are some of my favorite snow shots of our gorgeous pooch
Beau's first snow in Raleigh, NC 2010
Second in Wilmington, NC Christmas 2010
Third in Winston-Salem, NC 2012
Most recent in Winston-Salem, NC 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Weekend Visitors and Nightshift

This weekend was a doozie to say the least...mainly because it was my first weekend of working back-to-back nightshifts on the Cardiac ICU.

First and foremost..

GO PACK!!!! 

Yes, we beat DUKE this weekend! Sadly, I wasn't able to watch because I was sleeping, in preparation for my nightshift that night...I couldn't be more proud to be part of the Wolfpack and an NC State alumnae (yes, thats right according to my research)!  

Yup, we are huge fans of our alma mater (hence the blog title)
And as if people need another reason to be a proud Wolfpack fan, CJ Leslie is a doll! If you haven't read about this or seen the interview on the Today Show: 1. you are living under a rock and 2. watch it now!

Weekend Visitors

Jared and I had two guests come stay with us this weekend and it was wonderful and messy

Hawkins came to visit Jared to have a "Bro-Weekend" or "Bro-Fest" (and yes, I hope that I am thoroughly embarrassing them right now). I am still unsure about what was suppose to happen during this time, but it entailed lots of time on the couch and I guess doing "bro-like things."

 For those of you that don't know Hawkins I have posted a picture below: 1. it is my favorite picture of him and 2. I think it pretty much sums up his personality. 

The best part about Hawkins being there (in my opinion, other than his presence alone...) was him calling our other visitor by her name, "Olive." Which made me laugh almost every time he said it! 

This leads me to our second visitor. Olive Ray :) 

She is my friend, Melanie Ray's sweet little pup. She is so well behaved and her and Beau got along famously. I think their favorite part about this weekend was playing in the mud in our backyard (which is now all over the kitchen and living room). 

A fun fact about Olive: she can do really neat tricks! My favorite: you can ask her to bring you a blanket and she will! Nifty little pup to have around! Here are some shots of them together... 

A little rough housing
Beau doesn't understand the concept of dog bed
You mean, those aren't one of my mom's decorations for the bedroom?"
Beau was pooped after our guests left 


For those that don't know I am in my LAST class of my nursing school career (YAY)!! And as of today I only have 30 days left!!!!! And side note...the class coming after us started today and even though I wouldn't change this experience (well minus the insane disorganization) I would NEVER want to go back to starting this whirl-wind of a program again...sorry suckers ;) 

So in this last class of nursing school we have this thing called "preceptorship." Which is similar to an internship in college. It is the time when we are solo with one other nurse and we start to take care of our own patients! This is a very exciting time for a nurse-to-be because this is when we can see how much we have actually learned so far. 

I found out that my preceptorship was going to be on Cardiac ICU (yay) but on weekend nights (boo). Well, those were my first thoughts at least. Turns out, I LOVE nightshift (and weekends, I guess). At night things are much more relaxed and people aren't running around like chickens with their heads cut off (and yes, it does get like that on some Med-Surg floors during the day). I finding it easier to stay awake than I thought and my love of coffee (and Diet Coke) help a lot! I stay up late Friday night, sleep all day Saturday, work 1900-0700, sleep Sunday, then work 1900-0700, and sleep 4.5 hours Monday morning, wake up and study. It is a busy four days...

What makes this whole thing even better, and totally worth it, is that I was placed on a critical care floor  which is exactly where I see myself once I am a "real nurse." It is wonderful, the people who work there are so amazing, I actually get to know my patients...I could go on and on! I have only had 3 shifts, but have learned so much already and can't wait for more this weekend! 

Nothing really crazy or cool (besides someone almost dying the other night) has happened yet, but I promise to pass on all the awesome stories (even the gross ones because I am sure there are some people that would appreciate them).

Sorry this wasn't more entertaining...I will find better things to post about. Trying to meet my goal of at least one post a week...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Looking Back: The Big Twelve in 2012 

Looking back at 2012 it went so fast and there were so many things that happened that I wish I could remember. Hence, another reason for starting this blog. I want to start by recapping twelve of the biggest moments that happened in 2012. I am going to try and do them in the order they occurred. 

1. Moved to Winston-Salem, NC 

In January 2012 we moved into what I thought was the most darling house (pictured below). Come to find out this quaint little place came with some big problems, including: bugs, heating & cooling issues, and doesn't get clean no matter how hard you try! 

2. Started the Accelerated BSN Program at Winston Salem State University 

On January 11, 2012 I had my first day in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and I thought my life was over. This program is the typical 24 months of nursing school crammed into 13 fast-paced months. For the first 8 weeks of the I went to class Tuesday-Friday 8-5, studied every day, and had roughly 3 tests a week. Luckily that time has passed and now I have just 5 weeks left! 
I wrote this on the first day of orientation in the program 

3. Met These People 

When I first started the program I thought: get in and get out. I wasn't here to make friends, I was here to get my BSN and a job. However, I met these people who would potentially change my our life forever. We knew little about each other, but shared the common bond of the program. Now they are some of my best friends.
Todd, Me, Melanie, Elizabeth, & Josh on Saint Patrick's Day 2012 
Todd, Elizabeth, Me, Melanie, Kailee, & Josh at pinning 
Elizabeth Poulose: I am pretty sure we were separated at birth.

4. Jared Started at John Deere Hitachi 

When we first moved to the Winston area Jared was working for GEP which put him at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Things were going well until around March when R.J. Reynolds decided to cancel the contract with GEP. This meant that Jared would either have to move with the company to New Jersey (not an option in my mind) or find a new job (during a time when it seemed impossible). I was in a panic, but Jared reassured me that everything would be ok. Turns out it was more than ok! Jared was offered at position at his dream company, John Deere Hitachi in Kernersville, NC! I say "dream company" because in 2009 when Jared was first back in school he made a list of potential job opportunities and the only one he could list was "John Deere." This job offer was just the start to Jared's new path in 2012 :) 
One of my favorites: Jared with Downtown Winston behind him the night he accepted the John Deere Hitachi offer 
The List. Our friend Layne took this picture in early 2009. It is blurry, but cracks me up

5. James Graduated from East Carolina University 

My brother James is one of the most amazing people in the world. He is one of my best friends and a major support system for me. This year he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health Services Management from East Carolina University all while working one full time job, a part time job, and going to class online. Talk about dedication! He is now attending George Washington University pursuing his Master of Science in Health Care Quality. 
My brothers Michael (left), James (right) and I at James' graduation dinner! 

6. Became Obsessed with Cooking

It started out as a way to separate myself from studying, but quickly turned in to an obsession. I would get on Pinterest daily in search of new recipes to try. This then lead me to blogs and sites that only fueled my love of trying to cook new things. My favorite thing to do is find "healthier" options of our favorite foods. This also helps get Jared to eat vegetables! There are too many pictures to post of the meals that I have cooked in the past, but I promise to update with pictures and recipes from here on out.

7. Jared Became a Demon Deacon 

Jared was looking in to Master of Business programs to start after I got finished with school. This was not something that he had planned on venturing into until after he was settled in his new job for a little while and I was out in the working world. However, in early August Jared was approached by a representative from the School of Business at Wake Forest University. Two weeks later Jared took the GMAT and was accepted into one of the top rated Master of Business Administration programs in the country! He will complete the program in August 2014 and I could not be more proud of him!
I think I cried when the acceptance package came in
Jared and I have very different methods of studying
Through the MBA program we met these gems, Gwyn and Neil! And fell in love. 

8. We got ENGAGED! 

Obviously, this was the biggest and most amazing thing that happened to us in 2012, but like I said I wanted to keep the events in order of how they happend as best I could. 
Jared proposed on August 31, 2012 around 12:40 pm (yes, I remember every detail). I had just finished my Pediatrics Nursing final and we were on our way to watch N.C. State take on Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta, G.A. When we pulled over at the rest stop at the North Carolina-South Carolina border I was not expecting Jared to ask me to marry him. 
He pretended like something was wrong with the car and that we needed to pull over. Getting to a reststop to me meant I had a chance to use the bathroom. When I got out Jared had the hood to the truck popped and I thought, "Oh, great we are going to be stranded in SC (again) and miss the game." Little did I know my life was about to change forever. He asked me to come look at something. I was not amused because I know nothing about cars, but I played along. This is when he took my hands, his were really shaky, and said, "I have a really important question to ask you..." He proceeded to get down on one knee. I couldn't believe, 1. That is was happening and 2. That this was happening here of all places. He asked me to marry him and I said YES and then called him a jerk. It was perfect.
First picture taken after we got engaged (looking rough)
On the way down we were able to call all of our friends and family to share the wonderful news. When we made it to Atlanta, some our friends did not know yet because we wanted to surprise them in person. Well, it worked! The faces and sounds that came from Alyson and Hannah will never be topped. When we returned to Winston from our trip, Jared had my mom and brothers surprise me at the house! Just another reminder of why he is such an amazing man! The weekend was perfectly filled with love and support from family and friends. 

9. Learned the True Meaning of Family and Friends 

Although 2012 was an amazing year for the two of us, it was also an extremely difficult one. We were in a new place, starting back to school, and starting new careers. We were starting fresh with little money and little idea of where this crazy road would take us. Our family and close friends remained by our side and supported us every step of the way and we could not be more thankful for them. Below are just a few of my favorites from 2012 with our amazing friends (more good times to obviously following in 2013)!
Layne, Caitlin, Me, Hannah, & Alyson 
Chad, Jared, Thomas, Bunn, Hawkins, & Hillman at Men's Night Out 2012 
I don't know what I would do without them 
Christopher Chinn: Best Man
The Happy Meal--Best Friends til the End 

10. Began Wedding Planning 

Let me just tell you, this is not as easy as Martha Stewart, David Tutera, and Southern Living make it out to be.. 
I am learning about budgeting and compromise. The main thing that Jared and I want out of our wedding is that our family and friends have an amazing time. At the end of the day not many people are going to remember what centerpieces we had and whether or not we gave out favors. So far the process has been minimally stressful because I am wanting to save most of the heavy planning for once I am out of school. We have tackled, venue, date and dress. I am pretty impressed with us. I am excited to dive in once school is finally over! 

11. Rice Family Portrait 

It is a Rice family tradition to take a family professional portrait every five years. Well this year at Christmas time in Texas (which in itself is amazing) I was asked to join the family photo since I will soon be joining the Rice family. I am so excited to be part of such a wonderful family. They have welcomed me with open arms since the first time they met me five years ago. I love them very much and feel so blessed to soon be officially part of the family. 
Rice Family in the Trees
Future Sister: Charli Kay

12. Last Holidays as a Spicka 

Although I am excited to join the Rice family, it will be a big change to leave some of my own family traditions behind. As many people know, I am very close with my mom and brothers. For a long time it has only been the four of us. Christmas has always been a special holiday for us and typically we go on a trip together around that time. However, this year was different (mainly, because I am in school and we couldn't go anywhere). I was lucky enough to spend Christmas Eve with the Rice and Culbertson families which are both HUGE traditions in Texas (Jared hasn't missed a Christmas Eve in 27 years if that tells you anything). Then I flew home on Christmas morning to be with my family in Wilmington. Next Christmas we will be married and changes will be made to traditions on both ends. 
Brothers and Best Friends
Guess Mom or Mimi is going to knit Jared a stocking
Beyond Blessed

Looking Forward: What's to come in 2013? 

Only time will tell. 

For right now I am focused on finishing school, getting my BSN, RN, and getting a REAL job! 

Will keep you all posted on all the fabulous events as they happen!