T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Let's Go Fly A Kite...

It's been a long past 6 weeks. I finally wrapped up my urgent care clinical rotation week. I loved it except for being away from the kids for 14 hours at a time (aka not seeing them on the days I worked). If they knew in advance I would be gone the next day they would wake in the night demanding snuggles. This is charming but at 4:00 am it's tough especially knowing I'd have to be awake very soon which meant I usually did not fall back asleep. It was such an incredible learning experience as exhausting as it was. I learned some valuable skills that will be useful not only in my career but also in caring for my family, particularly in emergent situations. 

I cannot say enough about my preceptor. She has 17 years of experience and has the ability to remain calm and patient in tense and frustrating situations. Remember what I said about how I was having a tough time connecting with her at first? It turns out we are totally kindred spirits. I also thought I was probably one of her average students, too, although, she would compliment me on my sewing skills. She gave me my evaluation on Friday and it was perfect. I told her I did not feel it was deserved in that some of my assessments are still a bit shaky particularly in the realm of dermatology. She said rarely does she give all excellent ratings but felt it was deserved. I was honored by her words because she is not one to offer compliments unless merited. With dermatology it just takes time and seeing a lot of different rashes and other skin issues - this is something one cannot gain without experience. I am glad to have had this experience. As much as I dreaded the hours and commute, 40+ patients in a day kept my mind off missing the kiddos so much.

With all that behind me, I move onto my final clinical rotation - asthma and allergy. I have 101 hours to complete there before graduation in 40 days. I absolutely have to impress and be at the top of my game there. This is where I am hoping to hang my NP hat and practice. I have quite a bit of experience here but not as a nurse practitioner. It will be a steep learning curve but I think my last rotation prepared me for this at least in part. This is something I'm really passionate about having dealt with a young child with asthma and severe food allergy.

The past 6 weeks have left all of us a little stressed and on edge. Today I could not figure out what was wrong with me. I was just grumpy for no apparent reason. I have not had much in the way of stress relief. I usually try to work on some crocheting or sewing to burn off steam and I've done great at keeping up on my work outs, but nothing was working today. T Rex Dad declared he was taking the kids to the park to fly kites and I had strict orders to stay home and relax. He would call and let me know when they were headed home.

He and the kids left for 2 hours. I cannot even remember the last time I was home alone. Maybe before Lil Sis was born? T Rex Dad has taken the kids while I stayed home working on projects with family or friends like cookie baking or soap making but staying home to do nothing - what's that? Well, I experienced it tonight and it was heavenly. I finished up a cute little crochet bunny for T Rex and started on Lil Sister's, too. Then a long, very hot bath. There was no hurrying, no rushing, and no multitasking. They called when they were a few minutes out, I put the pizza in the oven, and when the kids arrived home I was calm, collected, happy and refreshed. I guess the stress finally caught up with me. How fortunate I feel to have a husband who recognized the signs and symptoms and offered an intervention. I guess I was so busy taking care of others I needed to slow down and take care of myself.

So where did they go for 2 hours? A Sunday drive up to the lake and back in a rain storm followed by some kite flying at the school. It was Lil Sister's first kite experience. I was so glad T Rex Dad took plenty of photos so I could see her excitement. I'll post additional photos on each of the kids' blogs, too. Here are some from their outing - there were several great ones so I picked my favorites (there are still about 8):

Here's to more kite flying and less stress...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Completed Projects...

A few more projects I've wrapped up. I know, where do I get the time? Sleep is over-rated. No, actually it's called super supportive husband and great kids. Plus, they know they benefit from my projects. Sometimes they even watch. 

I've been waiting on posting these first few photos because the package needed to be delivered. Now that it's no longer a surprise to the family, I can show the finished project for our friends the B Family.

This is a baby afghan. They will not know the gender of their baby until it's born so we went with something neutral. The pattern is out of one of my mom's old crochet books from the 1970's. Since it will be a spring baby I figured it needed to be somewhat lightweight for the warmer weather. I also opted for a softer yarn. The yarn choice was not the best with this pattern but it is really soft so I hope that makes up for the trouble it caused in the crafting process. 

Little A.L., the soon-to-be big sister, needs a baby to take care of, too. So with the help of Lil Sis, we selected this baby doll. She liked it because it had a binkie as well as the capability of thumb sucking (one of her favorite past-times). I crafted a hat and matching booties to make it a bit more unique. 

The baby doll also needed a blanket of its own. I used several left-over yarns to pull this together. The top portion from the same as the afghan, the pink portion from the left-over yarn from the booties I made A.L. when she was born, and the last of the yarn from Lil Sister's baby afghan her Grandma N made.

I was quite pleased with the baby doll project. The afghan was pretty tough and long work but I was not as delighted with it as I was A.L.'s gift. However, most babies are not too particular so I suppose it will be alright. My afghans take about 1 1/2 to 2 months on average so completing one like this is kind of a big deal. I have another that is also completed but I am waiting to post photos until I present the gift to the expectant family. It is in the same style as the photo above - ripple style.

Switching gears from baby gifts to wedding gifts. For our Good Neighbor's son and new daughter-in-law. I pulled these together kind of last minute but in the end it all worked out. Pot holder and trivet. Then I made a couple of dishcloths to go along with them and added some bars of my homemade soap to complete the set. The gift needed to travel in a suitcase so I kept it small. Everything was done in 100% cotton so fine with high temperatures, too. These were fun, fast projects. Each potholder/trivet takes about 2-3 hours. The dishcloths are about an hour each.

T Rex has been asking me to make him miniatures of the characters from The Brave Little Toaster - a movie from the 1980s. I made the toaster out of an old sweater. Then I crocheted the lamp followed by the Blankie. If you'd like to see the homemade toaster and hear more of the back story from T Rex you can go here. Here's a photo of Lampy:

Here's a photo of Blankie (my favorite character of the movie):

Since this past week I only worked 24 hours, I had some extra days off to enjoy the kids as well as work on Lil Sister's spring/summer wardrobe. Remember, I told you, I have expensive taste on a tight budget. T Rex Dad has been wonderful in allowing me some time for sewing which is a huge stress reliever and a pretty good outlet for my stress. Plus, it produces some fun results. Here are some of the outfits I've pulled together.

The watermelon outfit - I purchased this material last summer but never found the right style of pattern for it. I actually used a dress pattern and adapted it to make a little tunic shirt and then some matching shorts. It was so fun to finally use this fabric.

Several months ago Lil Sis saw some Tinkerbell PJs at the store and so earnestly asked for them but being on the tight budget we are, I had to decline thinking I could go back and get then at a later time. (Did I ever mention she does not ask for toys at the store but rather clothes and shoes?) I went back a few weeks later and there were no Tinkerbell PJs in sight. I found this fabric and pulled together a super simple dress for her. She loved it so much she insisted on wearing it the moment it came off the sewing machine and even put the flannel pants on insisting she wear those to our dinner. They are not intended to go together - I made bloomers but it's too cold so she wore a long-sleeve shirt and her flannel pants - silly girl but a very happy girl. Her favorite project - not mine.

T Rex Dad calls Lil Sis his ladybug so he always enjoys seeing her wear outfits with little ladybugs on them - he was charmed but this outfit:

I know it seems like a lot but this is a culmination of about 3 months worth of work. T Rex Dad said when he was young he never saw his mother without a project in the works - never saw her sitting without something in her hand. I completely embrace this. It is nice to close the computer, take a break from school work, and craft something my children will enjoy. I think it has also made me a better clinician as I seem to have a knack for stitching up people, too. I guess I have years of experience working with a variety of other fabrics, what's one more to add to the repertoire.

Monday, March 12, 2012

By the Numbers...

In the past week...

- 128 urgent care patients seen
- 68 upper respiratory infections diagnosed and treated
- 25 otitis media diagnosed and treated
- 15 sprains, strains, and broken bones diagnosed and treated
- 3 lacerations repaired
- 3 twelve-hour shifts at urgent care
- 1 standardized patient exam passed*
- 1 oral exam passed*
- 1 clinical site visit by professor completed*
- 1 project proposal accepted
- 2 graduate papers completed
- 1 cap, gown, and hood ordered
- 25 graduation announcements ordered
- 2 allergy shots
- 1 new pair of glasses (for T Rex)
- 15 readings of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"
- 200+ readings of Star Trek Opposites book
- 10 random dinosaur attacks (see side photo)
- 3 little kid tantrums
- 6 time-out sessions
- 2 visits to the park
- 1 completed dress for Lil Sister
- 1 time change

* - indicates high stress and essential for graduation

It was a busy past 7 days but we've survived. Of course, we lost a precious hour of time and that is not appreciated when I really need many hours to catch up. However, everyone is happy, healthy, and most relieved to have that week behind us.

I am very proud of the kids for being so great and so thankful for a husband that has been so supportive when I call in a panic because I think I may vomit all over the panel of questioners during my oral exam. It went fine. My toughest question was "Tell me the difference between training and education." I knew there was no right answer but they were wanted an educated, scholarly response so I delivered one. Others included discuss you role as a nurse practitioner compared with other nurses, advanced practice nurses, physicians, and physicians' assistants or what theoretical applications do you apply to your patients and give an example. No pressure resting on my answers -  just the ability to graduate. I "passed with eloquence" and was SO happy to have that over. 

T Rex's new glasses also came in this week. He has very specialized lenses so it takes a few weeks to have everything lined up when he needs a new pair. He has a new prescription and this time he has transition lenses for outdoors since he'll be starting soccer next month. We picked up a new pair of sunglasses for our daughter, too. She wants to be just like her brother. So sweet.

Aside from this, not much else is happening. Just two twelves at the urgent care clinic this week and then a nice long weekend with the family. I need to catch up on school work - professional portfolio to pull together as well as a project to complete for which that proposal was approved. We did visit the fabric store this past weekend and I purchased a selection of fabrics to make Lil Sis a spring/summer wardrobe. I'll be posting photos soon of some recently completed projects.

Just know, we survived the toughest week of my education and training and there are still a few more bumpy places but nothing like what we just experienced.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

February 29th - Part II - Snow...

Part II of my extra day off with the kids...

After the cookies were completed we donned our snow suits and headed out for some play time. There was not quite enough snow for a snowman or snow car, but plenty for tasting, tossing, and making lots and lots of footprints.

I often say we try to keep things simple around here. It's true. Simple fun such as this makes us all smile and is a much welcome break from school work.

This week promises to be a busy, hectic one. I have my last standardized patient exam, my oral defense exam, and 36 clinical hours at the urgent care clinic planned - I just turned in the two papers that are due also.

Here's hoping my sore throat is better soon. This is NOT the week to be sick. After this week, life should get a whole lot easier. As I've told T Rex Dad, after then I no longer have permission to act like a Gorn (bonus points for anyone who gets the reference without use of Google). By the way, T Rex does an incredible impression of a Gorn. I may just have to post a video on his blog at some point.

Thanks for hanging in there with us. It nice to know you are on our side and offering kind words of support. These were especially meaningful words posted last week and very comforting after a 71 hour work week:

Your daughter's anger with you left me hurting on your behalf. Rest assured, as she grows and better understands the gifts you received during this education process, she will undoubtedly forgive you for your absence on your long days at the clinic. You will be her hero for being able to help others in need.

February 29th - Part I - Ducks, Trucks, Shamrocks, and Hearts...

February 29th...

It's an extra day this year and also resulted in an extra day home with the kids. How? After making the early morning long trek into the clinic under very poor weather conditions in a borrowed car I found out there was a last minute schedule change and I would not be able to work that day. Hence, I turned around and headed home in the blustery driving conditions. T Rex Dad had arranged to be home that day with the kids since my mom was unavailable. I was actually driving her car so he could take the kids somewhere fun - at the moment we only have one family car. I don't feel confident driving his stick shift 18 year old VW Jetta. My mom's car handled beautifully on the slick roads but I have plenty of experience driving it as she and I shared it during my high school and college days - it's also 18 years old.

The kids were a bit disappointed their dad would not be staying with them that day. He has many projects on the burner at work and needed the time to get caught up. However, I did not want to disappoint them but I also did not want take them out on the roads after witnessing at least a dozen slide offs during my round trip commute. 

With their help, we devised a plan for the day. We determined that while the snow was accumulating, we would bake cookies. This way by the time we went outside there would be plenty of undisturbed snow for playing.

Of course, my sugar-disliking son wanted sugar cookies with as little sugar as possible. We ended up making 3-4 dozen cookies with only 3/4 cup of sugar. They still tasted fine. Of course, Lil Sis will eat anything so she happily put down as many as I would permit. They were also very excited to wear their baking aprons they received from me for Christmas. The aprons functioned flawlessly. A friend also recommended rolling the dough out between wax/parchment paper. This was also an excellent suggestion and made clean up very simple and aided in keeping Lil Sis from eating too much dough.

The chosen cookie shapes were ducks, trucks, hearts, and shamrocks. The latter two were used from Grandma N's cookie cutter collection she passed along to us. They make perfect bite-sized cookies. 

The cookies were just the first part of the fun day. Stay tuned for Part II - Snow.