2018 Christmas Letter

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At work we had to update our entire quality system to a new revision, 13485:2016. It was a pretty major overhaul, and required revision to almost every one of 800 quality system documents. I was working a ton of hours, and going home and working more after the kids (and wife) went to bed.

In January, Nicole left her job of nearly 10 years at the transplant institute and took a position as an ICU nurse. She knew she wanted to get critical care experience, and the idea she could have 2-3 days a week off with the girls was too tempting to pass up. Not to mention the savings in daycare.

At the end of January, we were ready for the audit. The auditor came in and was more than a little impressed with the work we’d done, and we passed for the first time ever with ZERO findings of any kind. Those of you who are familiar with quality audits know that’s unheard of.

In April, I began taking my certification tests I’d been studying for (kinda), and I obtained my ASQ Certified Quality Engineer, Certified Quality Auditor, and Certified Biomedical Auditor certifications. These are industry-recognized certs that help those of us who work in an ISO / FDA business setting.

In May, I turned 40, and my friends and family from all over the country showed up for a surprise party at my house. Not only was it a great party, Nicole planned the entire thing without me getting even an inkling of it, and that’s impressive because she’s terrible and surprises! Nothing really changed with turning 40 except that I finally felt like the grey in my beard was justified.

June was also Olivia’s dance nationals in Ohio!

In July, I decided to pursue a lifelong dream of working directly in healthcare. As an 18 year old, that was paramedic aspirations, but at 40, I felt I had the sauce to do a BSN/RN. I met with the people at Research College of Nursing and went over my prior degree information. I then applied for their accelerated BSN/RN program. I had to start taking prerequisites right away to be ready for a January 2020 program start, so I had to enroll for them before I even knew if I was accepted. Risky!

In August we also took the girls to the Missouri State Fair. As is tradition, it was eleventy million degrees. They still had fun though.

In September, we got a wild hair and took a weekend trip to Branson. The kids had a great time and we got to check the box for “family vacation” even though it was only 2 days.

Also in September, Nicole got a job offer to work mother/baby at Liberty Hospital, which is literally 5 minutes from our house. Mother/baby was her inspiration for becoming a nurse in the first place, and she was excited to make the switch.

And we did family portraits!

September is also when I started taking prerequisites for the nursing program. I enrolled in O-Chem and Nutrition. They were the hardest class and the easiest class I’ve ever taken, respectively. I studied my butt off for chemistry, and I never cracked the book for Nutrition. I got A’s in both classes.

Literally nothing happened in October except for pumpkin patch and Halloween!

November brought Thanksgiving! Suddenly, out of nowhere, I got my acceptance letter to the 2020 accelerated BSN!

So as I enter into 2019, I have more prerequisites to take (Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, and Pathophisiology) prior to the January 2020 start date. I have four amazing daughters and a beautiful wife. I have a mom and siblings who are finally free, happy, and flourishing!

Having our family all together and happy has been amazing, as once again demonstrated at Christmas.

Olivia is going to start high school in the fall. She’s also in competitive dance again, and was one of the few girls at the studio to be selected to do a competitive solo! Elaina will be starting real school in the fall of 2019, so she is growing up fast. Mia is almost 3 and is the toughest kid I’ve ever met. Molly is 2 and is entering into an obstinate phase, but she’s still one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met. Nicole is finally in a job she loves, with several days a week to spend with the kids.

Oh, I almost forgot, I more or less finished up my tattoos for the time being.