T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hummingbird Close Encounter - Year Two...

It's been one year almost to the day since our first hummingbird close encounter.

This year it was just me who was able to touch the tiny bird. This female frequents our feeder. There is one dominant male who pretty much owns the feeder but he will allow this female to drink when he sees fit for her to do so. Fickle fellow.

This past weekend we were having our Saturday evening gaming session  - D & D 1st edition for those who are curious. Our dining table has perfect viewing of the hummingbird feeder. As we all sat, talked politics, and attempted to solve the county's problems over homemade chili I noticed my female had been perched at the feeder for a long time. She seemed to be stunned.  However, when the male would buzz her or even nudge her, she would turn her head in defense but not offer much else. We watched and a couple hours passed. It still was not dark (no, it does not get dark until 9:30 pm) and hummingbirds rarely fly in the dark so I was hoping she'd take off soon. Nothing.

I went out and decided to give a little nudge but with a little more force behind it than the male bird. I did so and she opened her eyes and perked up. She did not fly away but she started drinking from the feeder. I grabbed my camera and took the most close up photos I've ever been able to take along with a somewhat shaky video because toward the end when the male came back he buzzed my head. Still, it was cool to watch her drink and suck bugs out of the sky.

Let me just say, her feathers were so soft and she was so tiny. I jumped up and down with happiness when she flew away knowing she had recovered from whatever had stunned her. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Two Musketeers...

This would be the streaker edition.

There is just something about going naked that kids love. In this case, they are enjoying a little foam sword play.

Moments like these do make the home a bit chaotic but these are also the best and more remembered ones, too. So as long as it's controlled chaos I'm fine with that.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Honey Bear Sitting...

Some friends recently welcomed a new baby boy. Our kids are absolutely in love with the little guy. When he needed a place to stay for a couple of hours his mama asked if we were interested. There was really no option to decline based on the kids' reaction. Even when at the last minute she did not need a sitter, I told her she could not cancel as the kids would be crushed.

There is a humorous side-story to the sitting, though. The day before our scheduled "honey bear sitting session" (the kids call babies Honey Bears after the Berestain Bear's baby named Honey Bear), we had to stop by my work place so I could sign a few things. One of the partners and one of my employers came out to see the kids. He wanted to meet them. After T Rex introduced himself as a super hero he proceeded to say, "Guess what? We get to have a real life baby at our house!" There was a pause. Then I quickly interjected, "No, no we're not having a baby. We're baby sitting a new baby tomorrow." I think I heard a few sighs of relief after I interjected being as though I just started working. It's pretty humorous now but at the moment it was a little uncomfortable for me. (Although, this particular person is very kid-friendly having 5 of his own children.)

The sitting session was awesome. The only flaw this little seven week old baby has is he is too good. Seriously, the easiest baby ever and I thought Lil Sister was a breeze. It was so charming seeing the kids interact with Baby I. Fun also to see him interact back as he is just starting to really smile and coo.

The kids were most interested in showing him some of their toys and T Rex was good about ensuring there were not choking hazards within reach.

Then a few rounds of peak-a-boo - everyone loved that.

T Rex wanted to get a closer look without getting in the baby's face, hence the binoculars.

Not to forget, lots and lots of hugs and snuggles. The little guy just kicked and goo'd, happily going along with everything.

Here's a short 23 second video of an interview with T Rex regarding the sitting session. The excitement in his voice is evident.

Thank you Baby I for stopping by and playing. You and your family are always welcome in our home.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Good Bye, Dear Friend...

I was a perfect evening.

Not too hot yet we had the kiddie pool warmed up Neighbor D style to a comfy 90 degrees. Captain America even made an appearance.

I could hear the doves cooing, quail calling, and the humming birds squeaking and buzzing.

We were all calm and content enjoying the evening.

Except, there was this heavy feeling in our hearts knowing it would be the last time we did this all together. You see, our dear family dog Sydney has been getting on in years. She surprised us all beating squamous cell carcinoma (cancer) not once but twice and dealing with a life-long chronic illness type of lupus. Yet, she still plugged along minus a few toes and was actually keeping up. Then last week she just decided to stop eating. We watched and waited. We even tried feeding her fresh turkey with little to no success. She was old. Very old by big dog specs. 

I sat down and had a little talk with her. We exchanged feelings and I knew what had to be done. Then I decided. It had to be me who did so. You see, she was my dog before T Rex Dad and I were married. In fact, I still remember the day he met her for the first time. They had to inspect each other before we were to be married. He would be adopting her into our family. I was not worried. With years of service volunteering with our local animal rescue service, I know she would love him and she in return. They did. 

Oh, she was a spaz. Even after I spent all my free money while I was in college sending her off to doggie training camp, she still never really learned to walk on a leash. She just wanted to run. And what a nose that girl had on her! It was in her genes. Her father was a decorated narcotics police dog. Actually, I met her father and the two were so similar down to the way they tucked their tails under when they sat or held their charcoal velvet noses to the sky to be petted.

So that night we celebrated her life. T Rex Dad mixed up some concrete and all our kids, canine included, placed their prints for us to preserve forever. The kids loved on her. Then we said our good byes.

It was a perfect evening together as a family. I will never forget it. I am so grateful for the time we had with our dear canine friend and the memories she left with us - fun things like watching her dive off docks or endlessly chasing tennis balls. She was an incredible swimmer which earned her the nickname torpedo. All these wonderful memories warm my heart.Which at the moment, does seem to ease the pain of her passing and absence. 

Good bye to my soft-muzzled girl...I will miss celebrating our birthday together.

 In memory of Sydney

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Full Circle...

I've had many folks ask about my job, how I like it, and how it all transpired. Well, it is actually a fairly long story but I wanted to write about it because I feel it is also a really interesting story, too. So, if it's just too much to read I don't blame you. Sometimes my eyes cross when I see a long posting to read. However, if you're interested or just curious or just a blog stalker (I know I have a few of those, too - thus far all are welcome), just read on.

In the beginning...

When I graduated from college in 2002 I had two bachelors degrees in science - nursing and psychology. Initially, I had thought I wanted to be a psych nurse. However, during my psych rotation I just did not feel it was what I wanted to do forever. I did learn in nursing school that I loved the clinic setting and that hospital nursing was just not for me. Hence, out of school I wanted to be a clinic nurse.

I found a wonderful job working at a gastroenterology office. I started off floating, then a nurse went on leave and I covered the busiest practice for about 6 months - it was so wonderful. I LOVE being super busy - I know, sad but true. It passed the day along and I genuinely felt like I was helping patients and the physician I was working with. Then the other nurse returned and I resumed my float responsibilities until a new physician came on board right out of fellowship training. He had never been in private practice. It was my job to get Dr. M up to speed on the workings of the clinic and ensure all "t's were crossed and i's were dotted". I did this. However, going from working with the busiest provider to the newest and least busiest, and not changing my pace, I quickly found I had too much time on my hands during the day.

I tried to work with my management staff to devise extra projects. I took charge or orienting and training new medical assistants and other nurses. I also took over cataloging and organizing all sample medications and working with the pharmaceutical representatives who visited the clinic. The extra projects were not always encouraged, though. At this point the clinic was looking for a new nurse practitioner and I was trying to get them to pay for my schooling so I could come back and be the clinic's NP. However, it did not work out as they wanted someone right away and schooling does take time. I did know, though, I could be a nurse practitioner. I was devising complex care plans for at least a dozen patients each day. I was just getting frustrated that my care plans had to be physician approved as some items were bordering outside my scope of RN practice.

I was at the GI clinic for three years when one day a pharma rep came in with his manager. I assisted them with something, not sure what but I guess it was kind of a big deal because the next time I saw this rep he said his boss wanted to hire me. I chuckled thinking he was totally kidding. Then he looked at me and said, "No really, we have an opening and he wants you for the job." He told me details and I agreed with him I would probably enjoy the job. I began the very long interview process. It took several months and many interviews. In the middle of it I did tell Dr. M what was transpiring and he agreed to write one of my recommendation letters. He said he was torn because he did not want to lose a great nurse but could see that I was growing beyond my role at the clinic.

I was down in Nevada attending my grandmother's funeral when I received the call from the person conducting the interviews - Mike - that I was being offered the position as pharmaceutical sales specialist. The exact office I was working in would become my biggest customer base. I took two months to train the person replacing me and devising a triage protocol book. Then my manager threw me a beautiful going away party and I went home to enjoy a long Christmas break.

In the middle...

In the new year of 2006 I began my training with my new company AZ. It was a three month orientation and training process much of which was spent in California and Delaware. I did my time traveling and T Rex Dad joined me at the end. We came home and I began my new career. I was in the field for exactly 3 weeks when Mike told me the company was restructuring and forming a new respiratory division. Since I was the newest person I would be the one transferred to that respiratory position. I will say I was pretty upset. I was a GI nurse, not a respiratory nurse. The other down side, I'd be getting a new manager and a HUGE territory. I would have the third largest territory in the country among the 400 other reps. And no partner. And my boss would not be local but a thousand miles away.

I thought long and hard. Dr. M said I was always welcome back at the clinic for any reason. However, I took a deep breath and said to Mike that I would take the transfer. Off for another 2 months of training.

The first day in my new position I decided to start with a bang and visit my biggest customer - Dr. J at the asthma clinic. I showed up bright and early on a Monday morning. He happened to be in his office and had not yet started seeing patients. I introduced myself and talked a little about my products and launched into a discussion about some clinical studies I had recently read. (Yes, I read clinic studies for fun thanks to my friend Shell). He asked about my background having looked at my card and seeing I had RN after my name. I explained where I'd worked and with whom. He knew that group. Then he asked, "Why are you doing this job?" I explained I wanted to go to nurse practitioner school and the pharma job would allow me to save money so I could do so (the pharma company paid over twice what I was making as a clinic nurse - but I did not mention that). Dr. J nodded and explained he had experience with my company (AZ) in the past having completed some of the drug studies for their products. I was intrigued by this because I knew those drug studies inside and out so I was glad to have someone who could help me learn the disease state better. I left the office feeling inspired and able to tackle the new role I had been thrust into.

As it turned out because it was a new role and territory few restrictions were placed on me. I did not have to do some of the standard things the company required because I simply could not. There was no way to make 10 customer visits in a day when I did not have 10 within a day's driving or flying distance. I still had to log 8 hours a day but I would fill those hours with other special projects. I started to get involved in asthma workshops and asthma camps. I partnered with the local lung association on a couple of projects. Then I talked to Dr. J about getting him and his partners to help me with some free asthma screening programs. As it turned out he really was a wonderful resource. Particularly after my son was born and my pediatrician (who was also a customer) told me my 9 month old son needed to see an asthma specialist. I was totally in denial thinking I was imagining his symptoms because I talked asthma all day.

Dr. J took incredible care of my little guy. He taught him how to do knuckles and exploding knuckles. To this day he still asks if he gets to go see Dr. J. Our daughter is bummed (we're not) to be totally healthy.

I was hitting a good stride with AZ being the respiratory rep. I launched a new drug and yes, Dr. J conducted some of the studies for it, too. We were nearly top in the nation. At this point I had a partner working in the eastern part of the state so I actually was able to be home every night. Then we received word the company was restructuring and going to eliminate the respiratory division. I received the call from my boss (another awesome person I was so happy to have on my side). He said I was fortunate because I had two options - take the severance package or transfer back to the GI team. He said to take a few days to consider.

I thought about it. I prayed about it. I remember taking with a dear friend. She happens to be the wife of Dr. M. I told her what was going on and she said, "You've always wanted to be a NP and you would make an exceptional one." She had a point but I had not considered this because of the financial burden it would place on our family. T Rex Dad and I held each other for a long time in our upstairs spare room - I go there sometimes to think. I simply stated, "I have to go back to school." He concurred and the decision was made. I called my boss, told him what I decided, and he wrote my first letter or recommendation for school. As it turned out, I had about 2 weeks to get all the paperwork in before the deadline for school applications. Dr. M wrote the second and Dr. J wrote the third.

On my last day with AZ I took Dr. J, his partners, and all his staff to lunch. I told them about my decision and he said, "So you're going to come work for us, right?" I replied, "I'd love to." The partners looked at me and all smiled. Of course, I thought he was just kidding. After that day, I'd see Dr. J every few months when I was at the clinic for T Rex or when I was getting my allergy shots. He'd ask about school and throw out that they needed a NP and were hoping I'd consider working with them. I started to believe he was really in earnest.

About a year before graduation I set up a clinical rotation to work with Dr. J's NP. I told him of this and he said, "Let me know if you like it and we'll talk more." My final semester I began by revisiting the GI clinic - as it happened they were looking for a second NP. They hinted at me applying for the position and I will admit, I was tempted because treating those patients came so naturally. However, it is an adult only clinic and my favorite patients are pediatrics (something I discovered being in graduate school). Plus, I was pretty certain I had a job at the asthma clinic should I want it (and I really did). Once again, I bid farewell to my old friends at the GI clinic. I told Dr. J about the GI experience and that I really wanted the job at the asthma clinic.

My time as a student at the asthma clinic was like a dream. Working with H the NP was amazing. She was so knowledgeable and experienced. She has been with the group for 13 years and came as a new grad. Most of the office staff has also been there for quite some time, too. Plus, many of them I knew from my pharma days. By the time my 5 weeks were over it was pretty much a done deal I would be joining the practice. It was just a matter of time.

Full circle...

T Rex Dad had a lovely graduation gathering for me. In attendance, Dr. J and Dr. M. They met for the first time. Then Dr. J told everyone how we met. Dr. M spoke of my days at the GI clinic. Fast forward a few weeks, things are lined up for me to begin my first day as a nurse practitioner at the asthma clinic. I would start orientation by seeing patients under Dr. J's supervision. That first morning a pharmaceutical rep showed up. As it turned out, it was Mike, the AZ person who hired me. I smiled, hugged him, and informed Dr. J of the connection. They agreed they both had exceptional taste in hiring employees. Then we all chuckled together and remarked how incredible it all came full circle.

About the job...

My job, how do I like it, you ask? I LOVE it. It is my dream job.

Fully 50% of my patient population are kids. I've already become known as a toddler whisperer. The hours are great. I work two days a week or about 16 hours a week. I get a lunch break. Plus, I have a unique perspective being the mother of an asthmatic child and having seen my child suffer a severe reaction to peanuts. My knowledge base is still rapidly growing because it is a specialty clinic and I am trained in family practice so my knowledge is more generalizable. However, I am so enjoying the learning process.

My kids are still thriving. When I leave work, I am done - nothing comes home with me. It is amazing how much more time I have for the kids, with T Rex Dad, for me. Liberating actually. I smile a lot these days. Or as T Rex says, "Mom, do you still have you grumpy face or did you put it away?"

The learning curve is steep. The physicians I'm working with are incredibly knowledgeable and phenomenal clinicians. (No, they don't read this so I'm not just saying this to earn points.) All the staff have been so kind and patient as I learn. As Dr. P, one of the partners said, "Some of us think it is more of an art. You just need to develop your particular style." Hence, I am currently developing my art and style.

The other cool aspect, they are actually encouraging me to pursue extra projects like become an asthma educator or develop protocols and templates or work on patient education. Some of these things I used to want to do at the GI clinic but not really encouraged. Seriously, my dream job. Oh, and I'll be doing asthma camp in conjunction with the lung association this summer but in the different capacity - as a nurse practitioner. Did I mention this is my dream job? And this all would probably never happened if I had not taken that pharma job or even started my career at the GI clinic.


I am a firm believer that if you allow, you will be guided the path you are meant. As I say, "Don't fight the river, just go where it takes you." It all happens just the way it was meant to happen, if you allow. It was not always an easy path to get there but oh so worth it.

I am most grateful to all those individuals who have inspired me and encouraged me along this path and to Him that inspired the dream and paved such a path in the first place.

Monday, July 9, 2012

From the 4th...

It was a simple 4th.

First, the annual BBQ at our friends' place. There were various activities for the kids but most were older and just hang out being pre-adolescents but there are a couple of great little babysitters who offered to watch the kids while we visited with friends.  However, someone came up to me and said T Rex was in the kiddie pool. I gave T Rex Dad the grumpy face because I did not really want him getting wet. Then I thought about it and figured I always carry a change of clothes so I should not worry. Instead I opted to go out and ensure he had plenty of supervision. 

When I went outside, indeed he had plenty of supervision. He had a captive audience as he streaked completely naked across the yard and into the pool. There was no stopping him either. I went in and told his dad what he was up to and we both chuckled, went out and insisted he at least put on underwear, and then did not even try to argue with our daughter when she insisted she do the same. In a while we were all laughing so hard watching the kids play with the hose and pool. Talk about good old fashioned fun.

On the 3rd we stopped for $20 worth of kid-friendly fireworks. After coming home from our BBQ with friends, we set up our fireworks. Neighbors D&M happen to pull into their driveway at the same time so they joined us. They offered morale support anytime the kids were a bit nervous.

We started off with some poppers and snakes. Our little girl could not throw the poppers hard enough to make them pop so we opted to have them stomp on them.

Then onto some tanks and smoke bombs. We were trying to go with things that made little noise. Neither of the kids are fans of loud booms. As you can see, T Rex's arms are up so he can cover his ears while still holding his Hulk figure.

Then the booms started. Some neighbors, not in our immediate area, were shooting off the illegal types and were they loud. T Rex Dad pulled out some ear protection and the kids watched while we lit off the remainder of the fireworks. The "big finale" a couple of friendship pagodas. Seriously, do these fireworks ever change? I think the boxes are still the same as when I was a kid.

We find having small kids tends to keep our lives very simple. However, it does also make us smile far more than we ever realized possible.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Union Pacific Railroad - 150 Years...

I know, I know...

I am quite behind on postings. T Rex Dad has been off of work most of this past week and when I've not been working we've all been enjoying a "stacation". Hence, my lack of online presence of late. I have a lengthy update on work (still going great but a little bit on the background) which I will post, too. However, I did want to put up these photos from a really fun experience we had this weekend.

The Union Pacific Railroad is celebrating 150 years of service and they brought their museum on train wheels to our small city. This comes at quite an opportune time. About a week and a half ago I took the kids to the now retired train depot to visit "Big Mike" the retired train engine. Their dad surprised them by showing up during his lunch break. We walked around and after a bit of time heard a train whistle. T Rex Dad and I looked at each other and blinked. We were not even sure the railroad near the depot was even accessible or maintained. It looked good but it had been years since we saw a train pass by. We waited and the whistle sounded closer and closer. Sure enough a long train passed right by. The kids had never seen a real working train before and both were surprised by the loudness of both the wheels on the tracks as well as the whistle. (They were also somewhat scared - we were so close we could have reached out and touched it.)

I will say it was a pretty cool moment standing at that old depot seeing a train pass right by. I am certain in its glory days it was a wonderful place to catch and disembark trains. Well, fast forward and we hear the Union Pacific is hosting a free community event at the train depot to celebrate 150 years of service. We knew instantly we had to go. It was such a hot day but so well worth the efforts. It was actually a great way to wrap up our little summer stacation.

Enjoy the photos. And I promise this week I'll post more updates and maybe even get caught up in the next week or two. Don't forget to check the kids' blogs, too. I'll be updating photos there. And as always, thanks for reading and showing interest in our lives.