Monday, October 31, 2011

Nashville Weekend

Wednesday (after work) me, Whit, Bib (Whit's Aunt), Jeremy (Bib's fiance) all left to go to Nashville for the Hog game/mini vaca! Bib had found us a house about 2 miles from the Vanderbilt stadium. We arrived in Nashville around 1a.m. Thursday morning. It was an 8 hour drive, but I slept some so it didn't seem to bad =)  We had an awesome trip and I look forward to more. Here's some pictures of our awesome 3-story house!
                        Whit and I's bathroom (top floor)
                      Other side of bathroom
                            Our bedroom
             Other side of the room, our favorite was the fireplace 
                       Now let's take a stroll down the stairs = )
                       The main floor- sitting room
                  Bib and Jeremy's room
                  Another view of their room
                        Their bathroom
                         Dining area
                Now let's go downstairs- these stairs were very steep!!!
  Downstairs living room- where we spent a lot of time watching ESPN
                         One of the bedrooms
            Boudreaux and Kendra's room (Jeremy's best buddy)
                                    Downstairs bathroom
                           Pool table time
                    Whitney doing some fancy moves 
Thursday and Friday was rainy, nasty, cold days in Nashville. We went down to broadway for a bit and ate lunch at Margaritaville- they have the best nachos and you can split them between like 5 people! Not lying, they're huge!

After lunch, we drove around and decided to go to the Parthenon. 

                                        Statue of  Athena
                               Look how tiny we are
                              Jeremy being silly
                     TITANIC!!! We did this as it was pouring
                        Bib with her cute mini cart
Every year we go on trips for a Hog game, we buy the mascot as a souvenir. Well this year it was Mr. Commodore. We bought the mascot on campus and was asking people what his name was-NO ONE KNEW!!! It amazes me how no one cared about the football game that was happening on Saturday. I know Nashville has a lot going on, but not even Vanderbilt University cared about the game or knew what their mascot's name was!!! We finally found one girl that knew his name. Anyways, we took little Commodore everywhere with us and took silly pictures (yeah we're crazy, but it was fun).

Thursday night we decided to try out Maggiano's an italian restaurant. It was so yummy! Mr. Commodore got to come along as well ha.
                      Yummy, pumpkin cheesecake
                                 He got to swing! weeeeee
After dinner we went back to the house to meet up with Jeremy's friends Boudreaux (matt) and his gf Kendra! And of course we watched the World Series- what a crazy game!!!

On Friday, Jeremy/Bib/Whit and I got up to hit up the outlet malls. We didn't go too crazy, but I did find another pair of sunglasses!! Yay! After shopping we went to eat at the Loveless Cafe- it's very popular and has been on the Food Network Channel. They're known for their biscuits, but I think all their other food was way better! Whit and I shared chocolate chip pancakes, hashbrown casserole, eggs and bacon. OMG I'm craving it just thinking about it.
                                    Game 7

Saturday we got up early and was ready for GAME DAY!! It was crazy how empty the stadium was and reminded me a lot of War Eagle. There were tons of HOG fans though which made it better. The game definitely almost gave me a heart attack and I'm so glad Vandy missed that field goal!
 People in the stands dressed up as some of the SEC teams
                                    The crew

We got back home on Sunday afternoon. I was so so so excited to be home. From being in Ukraine a week, coming home for 2 1/2 days and then leaving again- GEEZ made me homesick! Andrew and I didn't get to see each other much during those 2 days I was home due to his work schedule, so I was very happy to be back home with him! Now his work schedule is like mine so it worked out great! I'll definitely be home for awhile- no big trips for me! 

I'm very excited that the next 3 games are HOME! Well one is in LR, but close enough! We better bring our A-game this weekend for SC! Have a great week! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Wow- what an amazing trip! Thank you to everyone for thoughts/prayers for a successful trip. I had to go back to work Monday and jet-lag definitely set in. I'm so glad to be home and missed my kids at work, but I must admit, I miss being in Ukraine helping these little ones. I'm still processing the whole week but wanted to fill in and write about everything while it's still fresh as well.

Day 1: Kramatorsk Orphanage
We met with the director of the orphanage first thing in the morning- they were happy to have us there to show them different options to help the sweet little ones. I was definitely nervous. I guess since first time I've been there and not knowing how everything runs. We started off busy going to different rooms with kids and talking to the caregivers of each room. I mostly held the little ones while Amy communicated with the caregivers of the rooms through a translator. This helped my nerves calm down a bit and realize it really is how we work everyday at our own jobs. The caregivers would give us information/background on each kid and we would show them ways to help them communicate better and they would ask questions. It was great to know they cared to help the kids.
Amy and I worked together in the rooms all day since we were the speech therapists on the trip. We both bonded with some sweet little ones that made our day = )

Our OT and PT groups had a great day as well with the kids. We also had an equipment specialist go on the trip with us. He was a huge help with the wheelchairs and walkers.

Day 2: Meet with parents, Kramatorsk
Today we went to a nearby center to meet with families that have chose to keep their kids even though they have special needs. Families in Ukraine have very very few resources to help them with special needs kids. Most people that deliver a baby with a disability will give them to an orphanage. I couldn't believe all the families waiting in line for hours just to see us. They were very grateful we were there to see their kids and told us repeatedly how they look forward to every year when we come to help. We were all very grateful and willing to educate/encourage these parents as they try to care for their little ones the best they can. It was crazy the amount of kids that could not walk at all or needed a walker to help them walk but didn't have anything to help them. A lot of the parents carried their kids EVERYWHERE. This was definitely a day for PT and our equipment specialist- they were very busy trying to get braces for kids to help them walk better, and getting wheelchairs/walkers for ones that desperately needed them.

Day 3: Another meet with parents day, Slavyansk
We drove by to a nearby town to meet with more parents that had kids with special needs. This day we broke up into 2 groups (each group had a ST, OT, PT) so each family would not have to go from group to group like we did the previous day. We saw a lot more kiddos this day as well so wanted it to run very smoothly. Again, the families lined up and waited patiently to meet with all of us. It was another productive day that ran very smoothly. We were scared PT/equipment specialist would not have enough supplies to help all the kids. We prayed and HE made sure that everything would work out!!

Danielle casted quite a few kids and will get braces sent to them = )

Day 4: Back to Antoshka Orphanage
This was our presentation day. We invited different professionals to this event and it was a full house. Each discipline (PT, OT, ST) would give a presentation on different ways to help kids with special needs. This was very beneficial for each guest and they seemed to enjoy everything we had to say. We also brought in some of the kids to demonstrate different therapy techniques they can work on. After the presentation we ate a wonderful lunch and got to go to the different rooms to see all the kids one last time and say our good-byes. This was an emotional day- I was sad it was our last day to work there. We divided up different toys/therapy items that we brought for each room to have.

Day 5: Orphanage in Kharkiv
We had to get up very early this morning and drive to this orphanage. We were all exhausted from the week and having to get up extra early. We made it safely and started to get to work. First, they decided to show us a video on all the therapies they provide to the kids. Next, they brought in kids and we started working! They let us go into a building that they would not allow us to go in last year. We were all grateful for that, but it was very sad. We gave the caregivers tons of advice to help this little girl, I just hope they follow through with everything so she can get better. We also left therapy materials here as well.

After working at this orphanage we left to eat dinner and then got on an 8 hour train ride to Kiev. It was an overnight train ride so we were all excited to get some good sleep.  Here are some pictures from the trip. Oh and I've had a lot of people asking about the food in Ukraine. Yeah, we all thought we'd go and lose weight, but it was a different story. We all ate way too much! They had great meals at restaurants and lots of fried potatoes. Ukraine's soil is very rich and they're veggies were so fresh and good!

We arrived in Kiev around 7am. We all got in our apartment and started getting ready for a full day of sight-seeing. This day was also my birthday- it was a great place to be on my birthday!
                           University of Kiev
                    The churches were beautiful

   Lots of people getting married this day- thought the vintage limo was funny

    Pit stop for some yummy coffee


                Last night in Kiev

           Calling our HOGS!!!

             Watching the Hog/Ole Miss game in the hotel

It was hard saying goodbye to Alex & Olga this night! Olga was our translator all week and had gotten together our schedule for the week, she was amazing. Her husband is Alex and he did great helping us out all week as well. They definitely made it feel like home all week and were like family. None of us went to sleep saturday night and was hoping to get back on a sleep schedule. We left Kiev at 2:30am to go to the airport. We flew from Kiev to Frankfurt, then to Chicago and then to Fayetteville!! We landed around 5pm- it felt amazing to be home!!
Andrew and I went to Bonefish for a late birthday dinner for me. It was of course delicious- they have fontina chicken right now as a special and it's soooo good!

Tomorrow I leave again (last trip for awhile) for Nashville, TN to watch the HOG/Vandy game Saturday. I'm going with my bff Whitney, her aunt Bib and her fiance and his friend. We decided to leave early to have some fun before the game = )
Have a great week!