T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chickens and Goats and Starlings...Oh My!

Some family friends of ours just moved to their new homestead. They've started outfitting it with various critters. They invited us out to meet the animals (particularly with the kids in mind).

Here are some photos from our visit:

Ms. C showing us the fancy chicken coupe Mr. T built. There are juvenile chicks inside. They still make cheeping noises, too.

The kids were a little nervous initially but soon they warmed up to everything.

The chickens were cool and that coup is totally impressive. However, the goats were really fun. There used to be a goat at the barn where I boarded my horse. He used to ram just about anyone in his path. He steered clear of me because my horse would kick him any time he came close (she never kicked anyone or anything else - smart mare!). I was actually a bit nervous around the mama goat but the 3 week old babies were so soft and so cute. These were fun. It was like the petting zoo on steroids for the kids.

The kids had a great time but before we left, Mr. T showed us some starling babies in their nesting box.

Thank you Ms. C and Mr. T for sharing your new critters with us. We all had a wonderful time and look forward to helping you tend your garden and animals in the future.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Where to Begin?

Graduation is past. People have asked if I've felt a huge relief? Well, kind of. Why not this overwhelming sense of completion and relief? In order for me to be fully licensed as a family nurse practitioner in a state that grants little to few restrictions on scope of practice (i.e. I can be an independent practitioner without physician supervision) I have to pass a national certification exam.

Most of my graduate professors recommended beginning our studies for the exam at the beginning of our training because it is so tough. I took their recommendation to heart and did that which extra emphasis on studying in the past 6-9 months with review courses, review books, and listening to review CDs. My kids even get in on the action. For a while T Rex had heard the CDs in the car so many times that he'd start asking me multiple choice questions like, "Mom, what do you want to do today? A for aquarium, B - go to the zoo, C - go to the library, or D for Discovery Center?" (He was mixing mnemonic memory devices suggested in the CDs with multiple choice questions - cleaver I thought.) Then his questions started getting tougher, "Mom, is my asthma inhaler an insulin sensitizer?" Here we see that clearly he is not understanding the content and not a medical genius at 4 years old but he is picking up on some interesting vocabulary words.

With all that being said, I've had this impending exam looming over my head for months or years so getting through graduation was a big milestone but getting through the exam and passing is basically the end all when I will feel that huge relief. Well, T Rex Dad took today off to take the kids to "A for aquarium" while I went to the testing center and sat for 2 1/2 hours taking the 150 multiple choice American Academy of Nurse Practitioners national certification exam. I finished well within the time and with a shaky hand clicked submit. After about 30 seconds (or what seemed like forever) a screen popped up saying I had passed. 


So now, where to begin? The kids have been having some wonderful adventures the past couple weeks since I've been out of school. I cannot believe I've been done with school for over two weeks. I've spent a great deal of my time studying but when not hitting the books we've had many adventures - all good ones. 

Once again, though, I am not sure where to begin documenting the fun and having more fun without worrying about logging study hours. With that being said, I'll leave you with a couple of photos from my nephew's trifecta BBQ celebration last weekend - 14th birthday, confirmation, and junior high graduation - all celebrated this past weekend during a solar eclipse. It was fun having so much of my family together. Here are the kids watching "the sun turn into the moon" as my little guy so eloquently stated it. I think this is appropriate because it feels like things around here are finally going to change from fun being overshadowed by studying to simply being more fun. 

By the way, the kids are viewing this through five levels of sun protection - not to worry about their wee eyes. Now what shall I post about next -recent crafts, visiting the goats/chickens, our caterpillars and ladybugs, the carnival, or the giant jelly fish?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Roller Skates...

For months, maybe even a couple of years now, I've been saying things to the kids like, "Mama had to wear her roller skates today at the clinic." (Particularly on those urgent care days of 46+ patients). Well, T Rex took me literally and has insisted he learn to wear roller skates, too. Thus, I've been watching for the right pair of roller skates and lo and behold, a couple weeks ago at the consignment store were these awesome Fisher Price starter skates for $7. I insisted he wait to use them until he had appropriate padding. 

Once we had the appropriate padding I realized that Lil Sister was not going to just sit back and watch her brother skate. So, another, less-fancy pair of Tinkerbell skates were obtained and we were ready to roll. By the way, she is delighted with her Tinkerbell skates and although they are not as stable as T Rex's she has learned to skate on her own without assistance after only two sessions -  not too bad for a 2 year old.

My mom was here to witness the first skating session and also assist as we knew it would be a little crazy. T Rex's skates are pretty stable so after a few moments he was easily gliding around the back patio area. Lil Sister needed more assistance early on. I cannot remember the last time my mom and I laughed so hard. Oh, and if you are wondering, yes, they both took excellent naps.

Here are some photos from that first skate:

By the way, my Mother's Day was delightful. T Rex Dad surprised me with some dark chocolate caramels from my favorite chocolate shop. The rest of the day was spent with those who have made me a mother. Late in the day a simple outing. Some friends had us to their homestead to meet their new baby goats. Lots of fun photos of of that event but for another posting. For now, bed time - catching up on all those hours of missed sleep getting through school. Then, tomorrow back to the books in preparation for next week's certification exam.

Monday, May 7, 2012


We did it - I made it. It's done. 

Well, technically I do have my boards later this month to pass but that does not affect my graduation status. Tonight, I was awarded a Master's of Science in Nursing. It was actually quite an emotional event for me. When we walked in and I heard the Pomp and Circumstance music I stated to tear up. I think it finally hit me that these past few years of hard work - juggling home life with a husband and tiny kids along with school work - are complete and I can move onto my career. 

Our keynote speaker tonight spoke of service as most of the graduates are going into professions of service. I love that I will be helping people or as my children call me - be a "healer". He simply said, "First and foremost serve - be a knight not a knave."

I was blessed to have some amazing people attend either my graduation celebrations and/or the actual ceremony. I was at the satellite campus so our ceremony is much smaller than the main campus. The actual ceremony only lasted a total of 75 minutes - thank goodness since that's about as long as the kids can sit. They earned this degree as much as I did - T Rex Dad, too. My in-laws gave me this beautiful music box as a graduation gift which they brought back from Italy. My little daughter just LOVES it. She said, "Mama, have it?" My reply, "Some day - absolutely, it is yours as you have been with me literally every step of the way." Today we arrived at the events center and T Rex said, "Mama, is this where OUR graduation ceremony is?" The kids were SO proud and would not let me go after the ceremony was all over. 

I was so happy when I marched in during the ceremony and saw my own personal cheering section - all the people who have been my support for the past three years - friends, family, neighbors. I even had a dear friend drive over from Portland for the weekend of festivities. Sadly, my dad did not make the trip up. I was pretty disappointed but actually, the folks who attended my ceremony were ones who have been with me through the journey and my dad has not. Plus, all these folks are adored by the kids so there was plenty of entertainment for them. However, they received many compliments on their excellent behavior during the ceremony.

To all my dear friends and family who have been my support these past few years - thank you. Thank you for sticking with me when I've not been able to keep up socially or just not keep up. Thank you T Rex and Lil Sister for being the best kids - understanding and patient with your mom (and being great sleepers - now). Huge thank you to my sweetheart - there is not enough room on this page to convey my feelings and thoughts but just know I know how fortunate I am. Thank you to those who read and offer their kind words and supportive statements - these have been most appreciative. 

The countdown is finally complete. Screen cap from last night...


Friday, May 4, 2012

Tour of Parks 2012

I wrapped up clinical rotations last week and this week is technically finals week but since I had no finals I wrapped up projects and took most of the week off. Of course, the house is a disaster after 5 months of no deep cleaning and barely keeping up on vacuuming and dusting. The kids are really good about picking up their toys and clothes so that does help. T Rex Dad is also pretty great about helping but the yard has been needing attention so that does take some priority over clutter.

For all their hard work, patience, sharing, and just being great kids this week, we kicked off our Tour of Parks 2012. Last year it was about this time that we did the same thing.

Here are some of the highlights...

First stop IW Park. We had wrapped a trip to the library and picked up our groceries. I love that our local grocery store has a playland where I can leave the kids and shop uninterrupted for as long as I like. Plus, the kids really like going there and come home with charming art work. 

T Rex is learning how to propel himself on the swing. Although, he was a bit disgruntled that the swings were only "baby style". 


Switching gears...next a nature walk at KA Park. 

Once again, we did this exact walk nearly a year ago. However, at that time the geese and ducks already had babies. This year there were none yet. I think most are still on their nests so aside from other fellow walkers we were alone in the park. We actually wrapped the walk just in time as the rain started pouring. 

T Rex also got separated from Lil Sister and myself for about 3 minutes and although I could see him the entire time he was still quite concerned and told me he was scared afterward. However, he actually remained quite calm and handled the situation well. I think he will be a good at handling stress as an adult. 

Here are more photos...

We saw 5 turtles sunning themselves on a log.

A few geese and ducks.

Picking sticks...

Tossing sticks...

There's the beginning of our Tour of Parks 2012.

School is officially done. Now I can focus on studying for my certification exam later this month. Let the graduation celebrations begin!