Thursday, May 30, 2013

Successful Siblings

The hardest thing about living in Alaska is being so far away from my family...especially when big events occur. This last week I was quickly reminded that my siblings are no longer little and instead are growing up and truly beginning lives of their own. In the last few months my family has been blessed with graduations, new school degrees, US Navy enlisting, a pregnancy, and a wedding!

I am so stinkin' excited to know that I am on the way to becoming an auntie!! I love being a mother and have secretly (ok, maybe not so secretly) hoped for one of my sisters to get pregnant. Amanda will be 15 weeks tomorrow so we are getting closer to that highly anticipated gender reveal. I can't wait to have a new niece or nephew this November :) And in addition to baking me a baby, she just got her Associates of Art in Medical Office Administration. I know she didn't feel like it was a big deal since she's still pushing forward, but I'm very proud of her recent accomplishment.

Amber is doing very well for herself these days, too! She is currently living in Pensacola, Florida where she is completing her schooling for the United States Navy's IT program. She is set to finish up there soon and will hopefully get a nice duty station. I know she's keeping her fingers crossed for San Diego, which is great for me because I definitely need another excuse to vacation somewhere warm. Last week her boyfriend, Mitch, flew down to visit her and he proposed on the beach at sunset. And the next day...they tied the knot! So she is now officially Mrs. Kochishan! It was a very quick engagement, but they had everything already planned out ahead of time. She knew that he was coming to propose, but the details of the event were left as a surprise for her. I wish everyone could have been there, but they had a nice intimate ceremony for themselves. I look forward to getting to know my new brother-in-law and hopefully spending some quality time with the newlyweds. My fingers are crossed that she will be home around the same time as we are in August/September.

Another reality check for me was that my brother Brian just graduated from High School. High School? Seriously? Out of all of the recent events, this one was by far the most shocking to me. Sometimes I feel like time stopped in place after we moved, so I still tend to view Brian as my 11 year old baby brother. I can't believe that he's done with school and is about to start the next chapter in his life. Sounds like he is very interested in working with our dad instead of going to college, but hopefully he'll change his mind. He had a few academic set-backs in school that posed a threat to him walking, but he pulled through and got to cross the stage just like everyone else. I'm really proud of all the hard work he did to get where he is now. Congrats to the class of '13!

And we can't forget little Cameron! Can you believe he is now 6 years old? Crazy, right? He's almost a 1st grader. I have been gone almost all of his life so sometimes its hard for me to picture him as my little brother. Being as he is only 18 months older than Lucas, I often feel like he is one of my friends kiddos. But even through the distance I try to be very involved and up-to-date on his life. I am so proud of all that he has pushed past and overcome, and I am so excited to get the boys together this summer. I love this little guy and really miss him. I wish more than anything that he and Lucas could grow up together. Hopefully someday that will be a reality.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bring on Paradise!

Graduation is right around the corner and I cannot wait to hop on the first plane out of here.

Nursing school has confined me to this state for far too long. I honestly don't think I've been in Alaska more than six consecutive months since we moved up in 2007. I get a little stir crazy from the isolation away from my friends and family and find myself returning home (or to Hawaii!) quite frequently. Levi's traveled and vacationed  a bit during my schooling so you can imagine the jealousy and resentment that has caused. This mama is beyond ready for a vacation. And I mean a serious vacation!

I plan to leave for at least a month as soon as school is all said and done. I will be flying down to California with the kids shortly after my recognition ceremony and Levi will join us a week or so after that. For the first time since having two munchkins, we are going to leave the kids behind and take a true vacation to paradise! My graduation and our wedding anniversary fall within a few days of each other so this is a perfect opportunity to get away and spend some quality time as husband and wife.

We took a cruise on our honeymoon and have been wanting to do another one ever since. I've had my eye on a particular one for a few years so we decided to take the plunge and finally book it!

We will be departing out of Galveston, Texas on a 7-night Western Caribbean Cruise. Our destinations include Montego Bay, Jamaica...the Grand Cayman Islands...and Cozumel, Mexico. Can you say heaven?!

Of course I intend to spend nearly two weeks in Cali before we depart to ensure that the boys are comfortable, and probably an additional week or two after our cruise. I'm excited to hang out with my family and take a short getaway with all my girls. And there are so many activities that I want to take my boys to experience back home, too. My list just keeps growing!

Rumor has it that I can't take my state boards until late September, so I see no need to sit around Alaska when I can just as easily study back in Cali. August cannot come fast enough. Senioritis has hit me hard and I'm already falling into vacation mode!

Now that my cruise is officially booked, hopefully this will give me the incentive to get in better shape. It's amazing how one can be so skinny yet flabby at the same time. Time to get beach ready!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Champagne and glaciers

This past weekend I was invited to join some friends on the Champagne and Shoes Glacier Cruise. It was a 4 hour long trip out of Whittier and thankfully for us the weather was quite nice.

I left the boys home with Levi and got to spend an entire day out of the house. That is a rarity these days so I jumped on the opportunity to sneak away!

We saw porpoises, eagles, sheep and of course, lots of spectacular glaciers! I was nervous that I was going to get motion sickness, but the boat was large enough that I was able to focus my attention away from the water when needed. They put on a fashion show and catered delicious food and champagne. We got some orange juice and enjoyed some much needed mimosas while staring out into the beautiful scenery. Blissful!

Every time I start to get depressed and lonely up here I am quickly reminded of the beauty all around me. I'm making a pact to myself to travel and truly enjoy this summer (whenever it finally decides to make its appearance!). Can't wait for warmer weather and lots of camping!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Nearly 30

Monday was Levi's birthday. We had a mellow celebration at the house where I made him baked salmon, rice and artichoke. And the boys (with a little help from me) baked him a cake!

Over the weekend we went to the indoor greenhouse and the Potter's Marsh Boardwalk. Nothing beats a fun weekend with these boys.

It's crazy to think how far we've come together. I was only 17 when we got together, and somehow Levi is now 28. And if you haven't noticed, that's darn near 30. It's amazing how fast life seems to be passing us by.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Oh little Levin...where do I begin? Well for starters, he's not so little any more. At 20 months old, Levin is one of the wildest little men I've ever known. He has absolutely no fear, is quite the little daredevil, and always keeps us on our toes.

His new nickname is Bruiser. As you can probably guess, this kid is always covered in bruises. He loves to climb, jump and be as wild as he possibly can. He's even sporting a lovely black eye at the moment. Lucas was always very mellow so this second experience has been quite a different turn of events!

His vocabulary is evolving more and more each week and the level of communication he has is constantly growing. He doesn't speak as much as Lucas did as his age, but he can easily express himself and his needs. The first and the last thing out of this kids mouth every day always revolves around food. You wouldn't be able to tell just by looking at him, but man...this kid can put down some grub!

Levin absolutely loves music. He loves to sing and dance and shake his little booty to the beat! Its not a surprise to hear him in bed singing away at night. His favorite songs at the moment are the ABC's, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle/Twinkle, and Old McDonald. And he also likes to do art. He has a pretty short attention span and still tries to eat all the paint and crayons, but that doesn't stop him from making his own little masterpieces.

He definitely took after me in the cold aspect. He doesn't really care for the snow at all. As soon as his fingers get chilly... he is done for. But as the weather has been warming and the snow is slowly melting, we've discovered his new found love of parks and puddle jumping!

Levin thinks his big brother is just the coolest person in the world. He loves to copy and imitate everything that he does and join in with whatever Lucas is playing. We're very blessed that Lucas enjoys spending time with him and helping him to learn. They definitely fight like brothers, but they love each other just the same!

He has a mouth full of teeth, a head full of hair, and a daredevil attitude! I feel awful that Levin hasn't traveled much with my school schedule, but we're excited to take him down to California in August. He loves water and is definitely going to be our little fish out of the two. I can't wait to open his eyes to more than just a world of cold and snow.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

4 going on 16

Next month Lucas will reach the ripe old age of 4.5. I swear it feels like he just turned four and yet we're halfway onto 5 already. I really don't understand how this keeps happening faster each and every year.

Lucas is only a few weeks away from finishing up his second year of preschool. My oh my has this school year flown by. Unfortunately, he does not get to proceed onto Kindergarten like most of his friends. Being a November baby definitely has its disadvantages. Even though he is physically, mentally, and cognitively ready, I am okay with the notion of keeping him back one more year. I really don't want him to be the youngest of his friends as he progresses through school. Last to drive, last to work, etc. The thought of all that peer pressure and trouble making already stresses me out! Instead, we will wait one more year and he will instead be one of the oldest. His current teacher already mentioned that he is going to be one of the leaders of the preschool next year :)

He is full of attitude and sass, and lots of his own opinions. I cringe every time a smart/sarcastic comment comes out of his mouth because it honestly feels like the teenage years are upon us. But he is also the sweetest, most generous and loving child. He is a fantastic big brother (who takes credit for all of Levin's new accomplishments!) and can be the greatest helper when he wants to be.

He's very excited for summer and moving into a new house. I just purchased a groupon for a Karate class, but we're debating on what other activities to sign him up for. This summer will be very busy for me as I finish up my last semester, but I'm hoping to find something fun for him to do now that he's old enough to participate in many different extracurricular activities. .

Back in January he took a special trip to Hawaii alone with daddy. It was awful being away from him for two whole weeks but he had such a great time. He now wants to live by a surprise there. He sure loves his daddy!

Lucas loves to read books, play outside, and most of all be with friends. He isn't very interested in arts and crafts anymore and instead likes to play...hard. He loves to kung-fu, battle with his beyblades, and pretend he's an avatar with earth/water/fire bending powers. He's quite an active kid, but I've caught him meditating on a couple of occasions too!

But even though he's constantly trying to defeat or battle us, he genuinely loves to cuddle. He tells me at least five times every day that he loves me and begs for us all to join in on a family cuddle. He can be so sweet and I fear the day he'll no longer want to spend time with us.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The end is in sight!

It's hard to believe it, but I am almost finished with school! I remember shedding many tears after receiving my acceptance letter for fear of being away from my children, but this time has really flown by. I struggled with the decision to start the program while Levin was so little, but I am so happy that I made that hard decision back then. Now I'm only months away from starting my career and I can focus more on the important things in my life.

I just completed the fourth semester and only have one more to go. Yes, only ONE more! The first seven weeks will consist of community nursing, along with a course on Management and Legal. During the final seven weeks I will be working alongside one nursing doing a Preceptorship. We just signed up for our top choices and I'm sure it's no surprise that I'm hoping for NICU, L&D, or Mom/Baby. I'm excited to work with one nurse for 160+ hours to really get a good feel for what nursing is all about.

The last two semesters have included Med/Surg, Community, OB, Peds, Psych, Research, Transcultural, and Critical Care. I've enjoyed rotating through the units and getting to experience a wide array of nursing specialties, but it's also been a hindrance. It's very frustrating moving around so much. As soon as you get comfortable in a unit, you are quickly whisked away to an entirely different one. It's not easy being a student when many experienced nurses act bothered by your presence. But I've also worked alongside some fantastic nurses who made me feel wonderful about myself and my potential. It'll also be nice to start working just three twelve-hour shifts a week. That is what I am most excited for! Yes, I'm going to be exhausted by the end of the day and probably wont see my children much at all on my workdays, but I will have four whole days each week so spend with them. I'm really looking forward to being Nurse Mommy, not Nursing School Mommy.

Even with the disadvantage of having two young children while in the program, I've been doing wonderful. In fact, I've been excelling! I was just inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, an International Honor Society for Nurses. It was a great honor to be among the few who were nominated and I do not take this accomplishment lightly.

I was also recently inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success, and was invited into the Golden Key International Honor Society for a second year. I must be doing something right! (Even though I personally see myself as the biggest procrastinator on the planet.)

So wish me luck as I pursue the final four months of schooling. All my hard work is coming to an end and the job hunt is right around the corner. After passing my boards and a long, long, long vacation of course!

Back to blogging!

My sister brought it to my attention that I haven't posted a single entry in the year 2013. I knew I was slacking, but I didn't realize just how much. So here I am...back into my blogging!

2013 has been a busy and very chaotic year for us. The boys are getting bigger and we are quickly outgrowing our home. For that reason, we are on the hunt for a second house! We decided to buy a foreclosure/fixer-upper that we can work on while renting out our current place. There has been a great deal of discussion lately about us relocating and heading back down to the lower 48. We realize that a lot has changed since we left California nearly 5.5 yrs ago, but we can't shake this lonely feeling here. Whether we return to Cali or find somewhere new, we're giving ourselves a 2-3 year plan.

By fixing up a home and re-selling it in a year or so (along with our existing property), we feel confident that we'd be leaving with a good investment on our hands. And it's only a matter of time before I land a good nursing job. Levi's already joking that I get to be his sugar mama.

The house hunt has been beyond frustrating and not at all what I expected. Heck, I thought buying a house would be fun. But buying a foreclosure has proven to be much harder that we thought. There are a lot of investors out there right now that keep swooping in, offering cash, and stealing all the good ones. And who's going to say no to cash? I don't blame them one bit.

We had one home that we were absolutely in love with and we even offered above the asking price. We let ourselves get too invested and shopped around and designed all the repair work. Apparently it just wasn't meant to be, so the hunt continued. We just placed an offer in on our second choice and it seems very promising. The current owners are going through a divorce and the wife has left state. The husband has accepted our offer and now we are just waiting on the wife to sign papers on her end. I'm still a bit heartbroken over the first house and the excitement of this one hasn't really kicked in, but I do see great potential in this one. We are beyond ready for a nice big house with a matching big lot! Lucas spotted the giant two story tree house in the back and that's all the convincing it took to get him on board!

So we should hear a confirmation by the end of the week. And I have all of my Pinterest boards full of repair and decor ideas. I know this is going to be a lot of work, but I'm excited to fix up a house with my hubby. What's the point of being married to a Contractor if we can't take advantage of it?! Sounds like a new hobby brewing :)

Expect lots of new posts this week! I sure have missed writing.