T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eye of the Storm...

This week I worked on my written comprehensive to complete my master's component to my family nurse practitioner studies. Sometimes I think how will exercises like this benefit me in providing care to patients? Honestly, I know much of it is an exercise in following instructions added to some tradition. Though, last week I did apply some theory to convincing a patient to seek counseling. Maybe there is something to this theoretical application after all. (Did you ever think when you were seeing a health care provider so much was going on?)

So how did my written exam work? Last Saturday I was given a question for which I was given a week to complete the project. This was the assignment:

Discuss a national rural health issue, propose an intervention, detail how you as an advanced practice nurse would implement such an intervention working with other disciplines, and apply a theoretical framework.

I had three and a half pages just for references. In the end, it came together nicely. I'll spare you the details except to say, I have to pass this in order to advance to my oral exams. Of course, all this is going on while doing intensive clinical rotations at three different locations. I know it's sort of a make or break you thing. Add to this some of the other "T's" and "I's" that need crossing and dotting in order to graduate. Craziness. All I can say is that graduation is less than 100 days away and all is on track and we are surviving. 

Oh, this past week when all this is going on would be the week we would all come down with a cold virus. All diamonds must go through intense pressure to be born. As long as I end up being polished and beautiful when the time comes it will be worth it.

In the middle of all this week's craziness, I took the kids to the park. The weather has been mild and fresh cool air can help cold symptoms, so we bundled up and visited a very empty park. I have to say it was 35 minutes of heaven on earth playing with these sweet kiddos. I just wish T Rex Dad could have been in on the fun. He has been logging quite a lot of hours at work. Just more to juggle. Still, though, he manages to pull it together, come home, and help so I can keep up. 

There is more craziness to come as in February I start 12 hour shifts three to four times a week and then March brings oral exams. It really is a sprint to the finish line but I can see the end. Hence, the storm continues to rage but for now we'll enjoy a brief break for some giggles and smiles.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day of Days...

It was the day, the day of days. The birthday of our little petite girl we call Lil Sister.

We themed her birthday party after her favorite book which is also the new theme of her bedroom. This book being "Jenny's Birthday Book" - a tale of the little shy black cat with a red knit scarf  - Jenny Linksky - and her birthday picnic in the park surrounded by her closest Cat Club friends. The book is by Esther Averil and was published in 1954. 

Our little girl discovered this book on her own while browsing the library shelves. After we checked it out over and over again within a 3 month period we opted to purchase the book. It is read at minimum on a daily basis. For a while, we could not get her ready for bed or nap time without at least one reading - sometimes as many as 3-4 readings in a single sitting.

Since her birthday is so close to Christmas during which she and her brother received more than a fair share of toys, we opted to give a different gift. We all went shopping and picked out materials for crafting a Jenny Linsky quilt/bedspread and matching curtains. This to complete set up of her bedroom. This is the work T Rex Dad refers to as my magnum opus. I am not a high level quilter but I have to say it turned out spectacular. I had no pattern except to follow the drawing in the book. (You can click on the image for a closer look.)

Esther Averil's whimsical writing is as charming as her illustrations.The curtains on the quilt window are made from the same material as the curtains in the bedroom. I made a matching decorative pillow and pillow case, too. Those flowers on the quilt are actually for tying the quilt and I did crochet those. My sister did the paintings over her bed. These are replicas from the book. They look almost exactly like the real ones. It makes me smile to see my sister taking up her painting hobby again.

The party itself was also representative of Jenny's party. To familiarize the kids in attendance, we started the party with a viewing of a reading of the book. It's a great video about 6 1/2 minutes long. It's just an old library film strip with someone reading it added with some simply sound effects and music.

Then a trip to the fish shoppe or "bish shop" as Lil Sister refers to it. We set up a stand where the kids could fish for prizes. This was probably the favorite activity. It was especially nice having my brother-in-law, someone I spent many hours fishing with, and my nephew running the shoppe. The fishing pole was made from a stick T Rex picked up on a recent father/son outing to the river.

Next was pin-the-nose on the cat. My sister painted a giant Jenny Cat and the kids took turns trying to put the nose on. I love old style kid games like this. T Rex does, too.

The activities ended with dancing "The Sailor's Hornpipe". It was Jenny's birthday wish to dance the Hornpipe. We turned on the actual "Sailor's Hornpipe" music, an Irish tune, and we did some jigging in a circle. When the music stopped, the kids were to find a number and stand by it. If that number was called they won a prize.

As you probably noticed, several of the kids and even some of the adults wore cat costumes - we even had a lion and Pickles the Famous Fire Cat.  T Rex wore his Checkers costume. In the book and the Cat Club series, Checkers is Jenny's spotted brother and his special talent is retrieving a red ball. I did crochet the cat ears and the Jenny scarf, too. Some of the party favors were also crocheted - I made necklaces for the kids - flowers in red and yellow for the girls and red stars for the boys - much like T Rex's red ball necklace also handmade.

We opted for a "no gift" policy at the party because she had just received so many things for Christmas. Instead, I took the kids shopping for the prizes and favors which would be handed out instead of gifts being received. Most were non-toys like stickers, books, crayons, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, with just a few cars or rubber animals/dinosaurs. All were well received and I enjoyed seeing the kids give rather than always receiving.

The food, cake, and ice cream were all homemade. Since the Fish Shoppe was a major decoration we did some seafood - tuna sandwiches and shrimp cocktail. My mom's tuna and her macaroni salad have long been favorites of mine and also of the crowd as I did not get a single sandwich. I added some deviled eggs and turkey cream cheese wraps to the mix, too. My sister did her homemade salsa with chips and her famous ranch dressing dip with veggies. 

The cake was a Better Homes devil's food cake with butter-cream frosting. It is actually just to round cakes with one with a part cut and used as the tail - extremely easy. Honestly, getting the frosting the right color was the toughest part. The frosting was deceptive because it was colored black and one would expect it to be a chocolate chocolate cake but it actually wasn't. I was amazed at how much black food coloring it took to get it this black. 

Our little girl LOVES anything sweet and she had no issues putting the cake or ice cream away. I made a batch each of chocolate and vanilla ice cream - nothing compares to homemade. T Rex would not even go near the cake. His auntie was kind to make him some sugar cookies which I think he ate about a half dozen without us even knowing. I guess that's what celebrating is about!

It was a wonderful celebration and made even more memorable having those special to us and our little daughter there to witness the event. That night, after her party, like Jenny, she said her prayers of thanks and drifted into sleep - dreaming of her birthday...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Snow Day...

This past Wednesday we finally had some much needed and welcome snow. We are significantly low on snow pack this year. Usually by now we've had many days like this. The kids were so excited to finally get to wear their snow suits in the snow and test their snow boots out, too.

Because we knew in advance it was going to be poor driving conditions I arranged with my clinical preceptor to stay home to avoid the roads. Plus, this allowed for T Rex Dad to take my vehicle to work and for me to be home with the kids enjoying the blustery white conditions. 

Snow angel.

We had about 5-6 inches of snow in a short amount of time. It was totally gone the next day as it then started to rain. The kids have been extremely sad their snow creations are long gone. However, much fun was had before then - building a snowman and snow car, catching snowflakes on the tongue, eating snow, throwing snowballs, making snow angels, the list is almost endless with fun things we did.

"Mano de nieve"

Snow car.
Even our geriatric canine citizen enjoyed the snow. The other canine child could only walk the paths that had been shoveled as the snow was at about her nose level and it mats to her hair.

Fun times...I'm glad we enjoyed it as it might be the only good snow we get this year. We hope you are enjoying the weather conditions where you're at whether rain, snow, or sunshine. 

Tomorrow, Lil Sister's 2nd birthday party celebration. I anticipate lots of great photos and the kids are just too excited. Off to prepare as I am completely caught up on school work. Of course, it all starts over again tomorrow but a girl can enjoy the moment while it lasts - less than 4 months until graduation.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Our little bean turns 2 years old very soon. We were truly blessed with the right child at the right time. I don't think we would have survived professional graduate school, having a baby while raising a toddler had we been blessed with a different child.  

In a way, I can log my advanced nursing practice studies by my little girl's age. The ovum she was developed from was released the same week I was accepted to nurse practitioner school. When I began classes the morning sickness kicked in with full force. Then just shortly after I started my third session of classes, she made her entrance being born on the three day weekend. Even her illnesses have coincided with my school breaks. This past summer break we completed her toilet training and this past winter break we made the tough transition to her big girl bed. In May I graduate, I'm not sure what big milestone she will achieve then (finish cutting two year molars?), but this little girl will have been with me through the whole professional school thing. This I will always hold with me. I wonder if this earns her an honorary degree?

Admittedly, I am bragging a bit about her. However, during her birthday time, it's just merited. I am not claiming she's perfect, just perfect for us. Yes, the total angel baby according to The Baby Whisperer. A welcome thing after Mr. Sensitive. Both child types have their benefits but for this particular time in our lives, an angel baby was just what was needed.

This tiny (22lbs) person continues to amaze us eating everything and demonstrating an independent, self-driven, self-motivated, opinionated personality - "I do it SELF" - very commonly heard around here, as are, "Brother's turn", "Thank you welcome!", "Want to go bye, bye and see...(insert various family members)", "Mommy's bean, Daddy's boo", "Love you...Much" or singing "Happy Birthday, Dear Jenny" (referring to Jenny Linsky, the cat, from her most favorite book - Jenny's Birthday Book.

We are doing her birthday party with the theme of Jenny Linsky. For her gift, I am making her a bedspread and curtains. This is what T Rex Dad refers to as an heirloom in the making. I'll post more photos as the project becomes complete. However, my little bean climbed over the stairs gate and found her gift in the making. The photo is so charming, especially since she was wearing her Jenny Cat outfit. It turned into an impromptu photo session. More of those photos will be posted on her blog. I am not a professional photographer and not even a hobby photographer, just a mom with a point and shoot camera.

She's almost two and if I remember from T Rex at age two it is terribly terrific. It has all been wonderful. The transition to the big bed has been rough. I recall its toughness from T Rex. However, observing that exact moment when she drifts into dreamland and hearing the sigh of sleep, that is an incredible moment to witness - a perfect moment. This week we celebrate her birth and all these perfect little moments she has brought into our lives starting before she was even born.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Where We've Been...

My break away from school ends as of tomorrow. This past week I wanted to focus on the kids and spending time with them - getting into good rhythms and working out the last of those napping difficulties Lil Sis is experiencing. Plus, I also started a couple of crafting projects that have been keeping me occupied during nap times.

I can say I finally feel like a normal person again - rested and relaxed. Guess it is time for the craziness to begin again. I am trying to keep my schedule to only 3 days per week being away from the kids. Over break I did have discussion with my future employer and I was adamant that I did not want to work more than 2 days per week leaving some room for covering for others' vacations but for the most part, I want to be home with the kids while still allowing my brain some exercising as well. I think it will be a good balance.

We certainly kept busy. Here are photos from an outing to the Discovery Center followed by play time at the park. It has been amazingly warm - no decent snow. The kids did not play on the jungle gym at the park as they were more interested in the ducks and collecting sticks to throw into the river. The ducks were very interesting as there were some wood ducks which are fairly shy so odd to find in a park. Some of those wood ducks had cross bred with mallards which gave them a really odd look, too. Probably my brother and brother-in-law are the only ones who appreciate my attention to detail there.

It's been wonderful hanging with the kids without the stress of knowing I have to study or be at school. I know I am going to miss them so much this week working Monday through Wednesday but they are in the very capable hands of my mother plus an ample supply of playdough, stickers, books, and lesson workbooks. 

Enjoy the photos. 

Stay tuned - I am planning Lil Sis's 2nd birthday party and crafting her gift - it promises to be a most memorable party. T Rex Dad is calling the gift a family heirloom.