Ultrasounds, Cat Scans, and Shots- Oh my!

Two months and nine appointments later I'm finally done with the doctor’s office. Mostly to get vaccinations, doctors’ appointments have been a regular part of my schedule recently. Not only did I have the unlucky pleasure of getting tons of shots (ick) but my doctor discovered that I have an ovarian cyst. I was sent to the hospital to get an ultra sound of my ovary and luckily the results showed that it's very small. I then went to a gynecologist who ordered another ultra sound which showed that the cyst had dissolved already and on its own (score!). That was awesome news and whatnot, but I was still having pain in my abdomen-- back to my primary care physician I went! A cat scan was then ordered at which I got to drink the yummy contrast drink and get an IV. The results came back normal and my doctor came to the unofficial conclusion  that endometriosis is causing the abdomen pain.

So, long story short, nothing is seriously wrong with me (yay)! Now I can go back to thinking about 80 degree weather and beaches....


About Dominica

I asked Dave to describe Dominica a  little so I could conjure up a blog post about it. Alas, I looked over and he and PJ were too cute having some quality time with the new xbox 360 game, Portal 2, to interrupt. I pulled some resources, though, and I should be able to give you a little idea about the island.

As described in September 2010 by Discovery Channel TV Series – Man, Woman, Wild! it is a "steaming jungle hell". Don't believe me? Google!

It is home to the second largest boiling lake.

It is only 29 miles long, 16 miles wide.

There is no Starbucks or McDonalds. Yes, that means it's really a third world country.

The ocean is always warm and the beaches are black sand because it's mostly Volcanic rock (the whole island is a volcano).

The island used to prosper off of the Banana trade but Dole and Chiquita pushed them out of the market.

You buy electricity prepaid, just like prepaid minutes.

To cook using the stove you use propane, similar to firing up a propane grill. I'm scared.

These are just some random facts that I've heard and read. For much more in-depth, less "trivia" sort of information check out this blog. It's very informative and well written.


Mother of the Year Award

Last night Dave, PJ, and I were at the baggage claim in the airport waiting for his luggage. There was a family with about 5 or 6 kids ranging from toddlers to elementary school age that were all running around like crazy. We were just hanging out talking when all of a sudden we hear a guy say "SOMEONE HELP THOSE KIDS!!". We look over and the two toddlers were screaming for help (couldn't be older than 3 years old) who were half on the baggage conveyor getting pulled by the belt (and they almost got pulled into the back area). I was in shock that I actually witnessed a Mother of the Year Award moment in person. Dave slow clapped at the mother. Moments like this make me sad for humanity.

What kind of Mother of the Year award stuff have you been unlucky to see?

Totally unrelated, here is a picture from last night:

PJ assured us he was strong and wanted to pull the luggage (and he did all the way to the car).


Closing a Chapter

Yesterday was my last day at Terrence Bailey's State Farm Agency. It marked the closing of one wonderful chapter of my life and the start of another. Let this be the last page of the closing chapter; I want to share a little bit about my time with Terrence.

Not everyone can say they genuinely look forward to work but when I was at Terrence's State Farm Agency, I did. The clients always had me laughing and there was something new to learn every day. The atmosphere in the office was (almost) always one of joking and fun. In fact, I can honestly say there are few times I can count that Terrence didn't walk into the office with a smile on his face.

Last year in my desperate search for a job, Terrence hired me on as one of his team members. Immediately the opportunity to get my state insurance licenses for Life and Health and Property and Casualty were presented. Terrence paid my way from the pre-courses all the way to the exam. Thanks to him, I am now a proud Property and Casualty Insurance Agent (unfortunately I just never got around to doing Life and Health).

I went from an individual who had very little training in the insurance industry, to a confident insurance agent. Terrence was always very supportive, always pushed me to do my best, and helped to resolve any problems no matter how big or small.

I'm so blessed to be able to have had this experience. I'm moving forward from this job a better, more confident person than I was when I started. So Terrence, if you are reading this, thank you. For everything.


Shots at the doctor

This is a pretty controversial subject and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Not specifically about the shots per say. I mean, who really likes getting a shot? What I’m unsure of is how to approach "shots at the doctor" with my son.

See, when I was a kid, I wanted to know upfront if I was getting a shot. So naturally I assumed that was the best policy to approach "shots at the doctor" with my son.

Recently PJ had to get his vaccinations for Dominica. We were in the doctor’s office and he was happily sitting on my lap while I read him a Dr. Seuss book. Then the doctor came in, checked him out, and it was time for the nurse to come in (with the vaccinations) to do the dirty deed.

His misery is tangible.

As the nurse entered the room, I looked at PJ and said "Okay buddy, now it's time for your shot". He protested, looking up at me with his big brown eyes. I could tell he was scared. The nurse (still preparing the shot) threw a very nasty look my way as if I just commited a crime to humanity and earned myself the Mother of the Year award.

So, my question is: do you tell your kids when they are going to get a shot, or do you let it be an unpleasant surprise?


The Art of Packing

Finding ways to squeeze 150+ pounds of items into a 55 gallon barrel isn't an easy task. So yes, packing is an art.

Techniques I learned tonight:

• Anything in a box or container gets pulled out and put into a Ziploc bag. This includes puzzles, aluminum foil, Clorox wipes, oatmeal, etc.
• If you're packing things like pots/pans, be sure to pack as many other things into those pots/pans as possible. This includes tubes of tooth paste, car toys, measuring cups/spoons, etc.
• A memory foam mattress is too large to try to pack in a barrel. So are pillows. These must be vacuum sealed and put into a suit case.
• Packing is just like a puzzle, you have to find ways to maneuver everything to fit together.
• Food items such as shake and bake, brownie mix, cake mix, Lipton onion soup mix, etc gets put into zip lock bags with the instruction section of the box cut out and included.
• You must pack, then think/observe. Then unpack, repack and think/observe again. By the third round of unpacking and repack, you should be able to cram all of your items into the barrel thinking as creatively as possible to use up every crevice. This includes shoving as many things into pot holders as humanly possible to save space.

There you have it folks, the art of packing; you know, for the time in life when you need to pack a 55 gallon barrel to the absolute max. You're welcome.

Just for kicks and giggles...things included in the barrel: 4 big bottles of shampoo, 12 boxes of oatmeal, 6 boxes of brownie mix, a big bag of duplo legos, PJ's beach/pool toys (kick board, floaties, beach ball, bucket and shovel, etc), 3 boxes of cake mix, a nonstick pot and pan, a poker set, 1 gallon of vegetable oil, a collapsible 5 gallon water jug, 5 boxes of tampons, 3 cartons of Clorox wipes, 2 big bags of sugar, 4 packages of Windex wipes, measuring cups and spoons, 2 mixing bowls, 3 boxes of aluminum foil, collapsible laundry basket, 15 taco seasoning packets, 10 of PJ's favorite books, PJ's cars and two (big) transformers, 3 bottles of Veet, 4 bottles of suntan lotion, 3 bottles of bug spray, 4 puzzles, 4 boxes of lipton onion soup mix, 6 boxes of shake and bake, pot holders, a knife set, cooking utensils, 8 venus razor replacements, 4 boxes of face wash, 8 bars of soap, 3 sticks of deodorant, 4 bottles of vitamins, 6 toothbrushes, Apples to Apples, 1 big bag of flour, 3 bottles of Pam cooking spray.... I'm sure there's more but I'm drawing a blank.

Now I've got to figure out how to pack two suit cases  (70 lb max each) for the rest of my stuff. What would you bring to live on a tropical island ? Keep in mind there are no such things as Wal-marts there.


Remember when I mentioned my buddy dicom? You know, the one who helped me transform my (previously) drab blog.  Well, his website is now up and running!!! From blogging, to t-shirt designs, to photography, to purchasing something from his cafe press store, the website will keep your interest popping.

He even made a custom design for a blog and the person ended up getting it tattooed:

Pretty awesome, eh?

Go check him out at


No small task

Shopping and packing for this move has not been a small undertaking. You want herbal essence shampoo? Gotta bring it with you from the U.S. Want comfort snacks (i.e. brownie mix, goldfish, etc)? Bring it. Need deodorant or replacement Venus razor heads? Bring it! You get the picture.

Luckily we have a wonderful store called wal-mart (judge me if you will for that comment). In it I one-stop-shopped for everything I needed. From PJ's beach/pool toys, to face wash, to sunblock, to oatmeal, to a mattress pad, to collapsible laundry baskets, to you name it! Today the gathering of stuff was finally done and I was ready to pack the shipping barrel to send off to Dominica. 

It may seem a like a lot, but I know that it will go quickly over there.

I think I've met my shopping quota for the year. Dominica in T-24 days.


What in the blog-world is going on?

Over the past few weeks I'm sure you've noticed the many changes around here. First I just spiced up my layout. Then I got brave, bought my own domain, and changed my blog title. Finally, to reflect that new title, I changed the layout again. All of that in just a short few weeks. It's enough to make your head spin--mine is!

Formorly known as To Walk in My Shoes (, my blog-world has been turned inside out, revamped, and is now known as Life of Ikkins ( Welcome to the final product.

I want to give a huge thanks to my good friend dicom. He helped step by step through this process and I can't express my appreciation enough. Most of what you see here now is due to his hard work.

So, readers, I hope you like the new look as much as I do. You can also now follow me on twitter at LifeOfIkkins.


The Apartment

Picking a place to live is one of the most stressful things about moving. I mean, that place is going to be your  home. Where you chill out, cook meals, lounge around. If you don't like your home, you might as well kiss your sanity goodbye. Amirite??

So, Dave and I waded through hundreds of apartment postings and narrowed it down to our top 10 favorites. We called to ask about leases that day (Saturday) but Monday and Tuesday were national holidays in Dominica, so we knew we wouldn't hear back until Wednesday at the earliest. The waiting game began. And I think we can all relate to that feeling. Worries constantly racing through your mind. Are they going to call back? Will we get one that we want? What if they're all taken already?

Well, bright and early Wednesday we did hear back! Dave got a call from the landlord of our number ONE apartment pick (one word: LUCKY!!)! Ten minutes later Dave was over at the apartment, sent me pics, and by 9:30 AM the lease was signed! We really lucked out. And that is such an understatement.

Pros about the apartment:
  • It's brand spanking new! We are the first tenants.
  • It has two full bathrooms (which we didn't expect).
  • Wall mounted flat screen TV's in each bedroom.
  • The bedrooms are spacious and very nice.
  • 110 volt outlets in every room.
  • Huge beautiful kitchen.
  • There are AC units in both bedrooms.
  • We have a great balcony looking out over Dominica .
  • There is a private pool for our apartment complex being built (should be ready by May!).
  • It's only a short 5 minute walk to campus from the apartment.
  • Fenced back yard for PJ to go out and play in.
  • Has a back up generator in case we lose power.
  • Bugs aren't an issue at these apartments due to it being at a higher elevation (YAY!!).

Cons about the apartment:
  • We don't really have a living room. The kitchen is massive so we're going to try to rearrange furniture to make more of a living room, though.  So really, this isn't a huge con.

You didn't think I'd let you go without showing pictures, did you?

Kitchen/Dining/Living Room Area

Kitchen Table & Entry to Rooms

Master Bedroom (pic 1 of 2)

Master Bedroom (pic 2 of 2)

Master Bathroom (obviously just a pic of the shower, lol)

PJ's room & Door to Balcony (don't worry, we'll kid-proof the door)

PJ's Bathroom

And last but not least, 110 volt outlets in every room!!!!!!! YAY!


3GirlKnight hosted my first Q&A

Blogger Q&A's are so much fun. It's a creative way to get to know one another while networking at the same time.

3GirlKnight is a good friend of mine from When we're not competing against each other in fitness challenges, we're normally sharing some laughs playing Halo or shooting the breeze on the  SG forums.

Head over to 3GirlKnight's blog and check out my first Q&A!