Santa stop here

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well, 2010 is finally here! I'm trying to come up with an affirming mantra for the advent of this new decade: I'll be an RN in 2010 (no, that's just a statement of fact)...Life will begin in 2010 (what in the world is this crazy thing I've been living thus far)...I vow not to sin in 2010 (well, if that were possible I wouldn't need to be at confession every week & the world would be a better place)...this is kind of difficult. I really want something that's going to embody the concepts of optimum health, financial independence, organization of my home, a stronger relationship with God, and peace on earth. I'll keep thinking.
Meanwhile, let me just tell you about my day. It started with a few meager goals: a trip back to the library to "unlock" the DVDs I rented yesterday and forgot to "unlock" before leaving; a stop by Wal-Mart to get beef bouillon for a soup recipe I was planning to make, clearing the kitchen table, and a lot of cookie baking since I'm the designated dessert person for our annual New Year's Day dinner at our friends' home this year. In the back of my mind, I had all sorts of other "goals" as well: clean the kitchen and keep it clean throughout the cookie baking process, mop the floor and organize the "plasticware" cabinet, take a picture of the kids to include in the Happy New Year's cards (for those folks who didn't get in on the first "round" of Christmas greetings sent shortly after Thanksgiving) and of course, run to Costco to pick up the prints. Then, there was that vegetable-beef-barley soup recipe I wanted to throw together so we'd have something to warm our bones on the last day of 2009. There were also Aaron's homework assignment and Alisa's projects which had been put off the whole break until now, etc. Okay, so my brain is aware that there are only 24 hours in a day and only about 12 waking hours when you don't get up until 10 a.m., and that sounded like a lot even to an eager beaver. Here's how my day progressed...
I dragged myself out of bed just before 10 a.m. After a shower I headed to the kitchen to fix breakfast and call the library to see if I could visit a branch location to unlock the DVDs or not. Nope, I had to return to the main library--it seems they're the only ones who keep their DVDs under lock and key. I thought if I could snap a shot of the kids, upload it to Costco then head out, by the time I went to the library and cruised back across town to Costco, the photos would be ready. Then, I could swing by Wal-Mart and be back in for the remainder of the evening to clean and bake cookies, and maybe even get a nap. I quick whipped up a Happy New Year poster with runny Elmer's glue and glitter for the kids to hold in the photo (I didn't need 50 greeting cards which is the minimum order for Costco). Then, my cousin Barrett stopped by for a brief visit. The kids got dressed and I snapped their photo. It took me the better part of an hour to remember how to navigate's 1-hour photo center. Meanwhile, Aaron reminded me that I wouldn't have to go to Costco if I'd just hook up the new printer/scanner they bought me for Christmas. He was met with some very unkind words spoken from sheer frustration, mind you. The good news was that I found a coupon for 50 free prints from when the kids bought me my flash drive last Christmas, so I uploaded 50 prints of various Christmas photos. I fixed myself a sandwich and chips, and we headed out the door just as it was beginning to rain (yes, it was well past lunch time by now). My photos were to be ready at 2:56 p.m. The mission to the library was accomplished with relative ease--I even remembered to pay my fine so I could start the year off with a clean slate. My photos were just coming off of the printer when I walked up to the counter at Costco. The kids decided we should stop by home to get sheets of their graph paper for their assignments so we could make extra copies. I grabbed the pages and we were off once again. The copy shop we normally use was closed, so we continued on around the corner to Wal-Mart. What in the world were all of those people doing at my grocery store?! Alisa & I did a quick once over. She was determined that I was to only get the four items on my list, but I kept thinking of other things from the list in my head (like laundry soap...I noticed I was really low when I washed a load of towels earlier; chips...after all, I had remembered to bring my Fiesta ad for price matching, etc.). It didn't take that long. Then, my sister-in-law called and said they were back in town and en route to PaPa & Tia's house to retrieve their house key, so the kids & I ventured that way, too, to see her new wheels she'd just driven from Chicago. We stopped to drop off some recycling and mail a Happy Holiday card to my cousin on the way. Does anyone but me hear all of the "extras" that were not on my original list of "things to do today"--the load of towels, a stop by the copy shop/post office, recycling?
So, we made it back home at long last and unloaded the couple of bags of groceries. I immediately set out to put the soup together and get my cookie baking strategy in order. All of this is to say, I finally began baking cookies around 7 p.m. I even fired up both ovens (since I only have one rack in each) and it still took me until 10:30 to bake about 12 dozen cookies. I realize that sounds excessive, but I still owe some folks Christmas cookies I never got around to baking for Christmas in addition to the ones I need for, well, later today. I still have cookie dough in the fridge, but figured I'd start to get too tired and burn them up if I continued. I was busy trying to tidy up dishes (from the soup and the cookies) and thinking of clearing the kitchen table before the stroke of midnight. I did manage to point Aaron in the right direction with his math homework once I got a couple pans of cookies in the oven. Alisa was on my case about us doing our nails together with the new set she received from her T'Renee and family for Christmas. At some point I had the foresight to place a bottle of sparkling cider in the bottom of the fridge to chill.
At 11:35 I took a break from the kitchen to join Alisa in the bathroom to do nails. I didn't get very far before Aaron was exclaiming we only had 5 minutes left before the new year, so I headed back to the kitchen to ready our sparkling juice for the toast. My first hint that the sparkling cider was no good should've been when I couldn't remember just how long it had been in the pantry. My second indicator should've been that it didn't spew all over the place despite Aaron's shaking up the bottle before I eased the bottle cap off of it. The final clue should've been that it was dark amber and smelled more like prune juice than apple juice. Aaron & I missed the "final countdown" messing with that mess, and ended up toasting in the New Year with our snack size Baby Ruth & Twix candy bars (which Alisa had not objected to my picking up even though they were not one of the original four items on the grocery list) instead of a sweet and bubbly drink. C'est la vie, no?!
Anyhow, that's how my old year ended and my New Year began. How I hope it's not true that the first day of the year sets the tone for the rest of the year! I'm doomed if that's the case. I wish all of you reading this blog the best of everything in 2010. Until next time...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Gift

Merry Christmas, everyone! When I used to visit my grandparents on my dad's side of the family at Christmas time, my "Big Mama" would answer the phone "Christmas gift!" instead of hello on Christmas morning. I always thought that was special and have continued the tradition myself; hence the title. This entry will actually serve as my Christmas newsletter for this year. It's kind of scary not having any margins or specific letterhead to alert me that it's time to wrap it up, so I'll have to rely on my mashed potatoes warming in the oven to be my "timer" so I don't ramble on and on and bore you to tears.

Thank you to all who sent Christmas cards, photos and newsletters. I enjoy reading them, and they are on display in the living room. This has been a quiet year in the Wilborn-White household. I'll go down the list as quickly and painlessly as I possibly can...

Mike is still doing his thing at American Airlines. He celebrated his 23rd year of employment this month. I think he is secretly eagerly awaiting my graduation from nursing school and subsequent employment so that he can work only his regular shift and not doubles and overtime. Sometimes he's out at the airport from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.--talk about long hours! We probably don't tell him enough how much we appreciate him for that.

Aaron is halfway through the 8th grade and loves reminding me that next year he will be in high school. He just doesn't get the whole "woo-hoo, boo-hoo" thing moms go through just yet. He thinks it makes me sad to know my baby is growing up, and, on the one hand, it does a little. Mostly, I'm glad he's growing into such an awesome young man. Erma Bombeck once said the two things we give our children are roots and wings. I guess their roots are well-established. Now for the "wings" part...Aaron continues to play trombone in the Symphonic Band. He played on the 8th grade Gunn Gator Football team (left offensive tackle and tackle on defense for those of you who know what's what where positions are concerned :-). Their year wasn't so great, but the basketball team is doing much better. Aaron plays small forward, and they've had a few wins so far. For the time being Aaron is interested in becoming a DJ to earn a little pocket change while in high school.

Alisa changed schools this year and is doing quite well in the more challenging environment of Arlington Classics Academy. She is coming out of her "shy shell" more and more each day, and everyone marvels that she actually smiles for pictures these days. We're still trying to find her "verb" and she will begin taking ballet and jazz next month on a trial basis to see if she likes it. She received a shiny new purple bike for Christmas, and we plan to ride together around the neighborhood for now and check out the bike trails at a couple of our parks when she's more comfortable with her new wheels. Alisa loves to read and is an excellent writer as well (I should turn this newsletter over to her). Her goal in life is still to someday find a cure to cancer.

As for me, life remains a crazy roller coaster ride with plenty of peaks and valleys. I have one semester left before graduation in May 2010, so I have to stay focused for just 5 more months (well, 6 if you throw in passing the NCLEX-RN licensing exam)! Either way, I'm almost there. I'll be looking into externships over what's left of the break. Hopefully, I can get on somewhere close to home, and then have a foot in the door for post-graduation plans. I'm still leaning toward working the night shift in labor & delivery. Pediatrics just about broke my heart, and I don't know if I have what it takes to work with sick and hurting children (and their families) on a daily basis. I thank God that I am blessed with supportive family and friends who have been an integral part of my journey. Keep those prayers a comin' folks! I'll do the same for you.

Wishing you joy, hope, peace of mind and prosperity in the New Year!
Love, Eastlyn & company

Thursday, December 17, 2009

leaves, glorious leaves

Hello, all--Christmas is quickly approaching, and I still must get my newsletter out. I started out so well, but seemed to get a little side-tracked. I thank God for angels amongst us who have all pitched in to make sure my kids have Merry Christmas. I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when they open their gifts on Christmas morning! Mike's sister has invited us for brunch on Christmas day. I'm thinking I'll do my "overnight" coffee cake and Tony Cachere's Country Breakfast dish (dirty rice mix with eggs, mushrooms and breakfast sausage). It's what I would've fixed for the kids & me anyway. Mike will be back to work come Christmas morning, so we'll celebrate with him in the afternoon.
I thought I'd give credit where credit is due for today. Today is day 4 of Mike's vacation. I always complain that we don't optimize our time off together and get stuff done. Actually, I blame it all on Mike. Not only does he not get his stuff done, but he also keeps me from getting things done that I want to do. Today, for instance, my "plans" included cleaning my kitchen, making pralines for Alisa's teachers, picking up the living room, wrapping gifts (so much easier when the kids are still in school...tomorrow is early dismissal, so Lord knows I should've already knocked that out!) and putting up the Christmas tree, oh yeah, and paying my electric bill which was due today. What actually happened was: I took kids to school and ran by Walmart Superstore on I-30 and Eastchase parkway (they had something I couldn't find elsewhere). I came home to Mike seated at the table chowing down on a plate full of scrambled eggs, toast with apple jelly and little smokies. Would you believe he didn't fix me anything to eat? I informed him that God had granted him another wonderful day for yardwork and I offered my assistance to rake leaves or whatever. He said he could work on the yard by himself, and I could do whatever I needed to do. This was like 11 a.m. I thought I'd better reconcile the checkbook and get that Stream Energy bill in the mail. Mike needed trashbags for the leaves, so he decided we could go together to Target to get the bags and drop the bill in the mail. I called my sister to ask about a gift for my nephew and she said she had seen what he wanted at Target (sorry I'm being so vague...never know when the kids will decide to check out mom's boring old blog :-). So, I called around to compare prices, and it turns out Target was about as inexpensive as I was going to get. I ended up paying my bill on line and rolling to Target with Mike around 12:50 p.m. (Half of our last full day off together without kids had already's not even like we were having fun, so time shoudn't have been flying like that!) We fussed over which trash bags to get: I thought the 39-gallon lawn & leaf bags would be appropriate for, well, raking and bagging leaves. Mike insisted that he needed to the 42-gallon heavy duty contractor bags (22 bags for almost $8 compared to 40+ lawn & leaf bags for $5.00) I told him that's why he should run his own errands and leave me out of it. We picked up a couple of miscellaneous items as well as my nephew's gift and headed for home. It was almost 2 when we returned. I did what I could in the gift wrapping department then cleaned everything up and made myself a sandwich and chips and left to pick up kids from school. Around that same time Mike headed outside to begin his yardwork (I figured he had about 3 hours of daylight and decent weather left for the day). All of this is to say, Mike deserves a gold star for at least getting the leaves all raked up. He and Aaron didn't get around to mowing the grass, but there are numerous 42-gallon bags of leaves stacked on the curb. They didn't make it in until well after dark.
Meanwhile, I made Alisa's pralines (they didn't turn out quite like Tia's), and put chicken on to cook for gumbo, but I got way too late a start and so we had chili dogs for dinner. Alisa & I ran to Tia's house and she gave us more pralines that she had made: Alisa can mix & match for her teachers. On the way home we stopped at Kroger for hot dog buns (Mike called shortly after we had left to let me know that he and Aaron were putting a dent in what was left of the loaf of bread. Naturally, we grabbed a few more items (might as well as long as we were already in the store, right?). Tomorrow will be another day where that gumbo is concerned. For now, I've got to turn it in. Good night until next time...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Angels

Yesterday I received an email with a one hundred dollar bill waving on it like a flag in the wind. It was a "money angel" and I was encouraged to send it to 6 friends/family and get rich in 4 days or send it to 12 and be rich in 2 days. The punishment of deleting it was being left to beg (as if I haven't had to do my fair share of that since nursing school began *smile*). Anyway, I sent it on to 6 friends/family members and waited for my "unexpected windfall" but figured no matter what happened, at least I might not have to beg for a while. I replied to the sender to ask if she thought I could get rich in 20 minutes if I sent the money angel to 72 people, but I didn't hear back from her. I went on about my business the rest of the day. When I went to the mailbox that same afternoon I pulled out the usual junk mail and a few Christmas cards. I love the holidays because they're about the only time of year I get mail other than ads and bills. One envelope had my name on the front but no address or return address. Not recognizing the handwriting, I eagerly opened it to see who had hand-delivered something. It was a thank you note from the mother of one of my son's friends. I had given her son a ride home from school a few times these past couple of weeks when the weather was cold and wet. I figured it was the least I could do. The mom had thanked me further by enclosing a $20 bill in the card. I immediately thought of the money angel and thought about how God always makes a way. Here I'm wondering how I'm going to pay my mortgage and taxes and auto insurance and provide a little something for A & A for Christmas, too. $20 may not sound like a lot, but it doesn't have to be. It was $20 more than I had that morning and it came to me totally unexpected. On Sunday I had given a friend in dire straights $20 that I really didn't have to give to put gas in their car, and now I got it back. It truly is in giving that we receive.
This morning I received a phone call from another special person who said she wanted to help me get some things for the kids for Christmas. She explained that she and her friend usually choose angels from the tree in the mall, but they would rather do something for someone they know personally. So, my kids became their angels. I have to ask who are the real angels here? Now, my kiddoes will have something under their own tree to open on Christmas morning. I just thank God for my Christmas Angels as well...they are an answer to prayers. I hope that someone reading this will acknowledge the hand of God at work in all of this...the ultimate money angel amongst many other things. Good night. Until next time...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Almost there!

Okay, everybody, so I have seriously dropped the ball, but I'm trying to get back in the game. I have begun mailing my Christmas cards (I know, I know, I should've warned you all to take a seat before I let that loose--take a deep breath and put your head between your knees if you need to in order to keep from fainting), but I did not print out an annual newletter to go along with the family photo greeting. My printer is acting up. I plan to use my blogspot to update everyone on our past year's events in the Wilborn-White household. Who knew a plain old first class postage stamp was way up to $0.44? Anyway...

The semester is almost over!! I have my final exam on Monday 12/7/09 and my final evaluation on Tuesday. I was just beginning Nursing care of children and families (pediatrics) when I last blogged. I have pretty much made up my mind that little people aren't for me when it comes to nursing. What an emotional 8 weeks, I am here to tell you. My first patient was a 6-year old little boy with pneumonia. I got to follow him down to surgery to have a chest tube placed--YIKES! It was grueling, and I wasn't even the one being cut, punctured, suctioned, drained, etc. The following week my patient went home a couple of hours after I got onto the floor, so I took another patient: a six-month-old baby girl who had suffered irreparable brain damage at the hands of her mother's boyfriend--subdural hematomas, fractured skull, the works. There was so much activity around her room-speech therapists working with her to see if she would be able to eat by mouth; occupational and physical therapists (baby girl couldn't even hold up her head), respiratory therapist for the rattle in her chest. My heart just broke into pieces for her. The nurses predicted that she would be a "vegetable" (that is, continue growing physically but never develop to her potential, cognitively) and eventually become a ward of the state. A couple weeks later found me in the Transitional Care Unit (or TCU) where babies who have been hospitalized for some time are about to "transition" home with all of their tubes, wires, bags, bells & whistles. One patient was a 14-month-old girl who was born with some rare syndrome with all sorts of cognitive and physiological complications. Her mom had a sign posted on the hospital wall showing tally marks for where baby had lived since birth. All but 23 of the marks were at Cooks Children's Medical Center. Baby was on a respirator and received tube feedings, and Mom was with her most of the time. Another patient in the TCU had been a healthy preteen up until several months ago when her mothers (nontraditional family) noticed a decline in her grades at school as well as her physical and mental abilities. She would have been a perfect case for "mystery diagnosis" because no one could figure out what was going on with her. You can't really treat what you can't diagnose. Finally, the third of my patients on this floor was a 4-month old little boy who was born with some musculoskeltal deformities. His rib cage was misshapen, he had a club foot, his stomach was up higher than it should be. Talk about the cutest baby, though! He smiled and laughed at me but made no sound because he, too, had a tracheostomy and was on a ventilator. They were trying to wean him off of it by turning off the respirator for one hour at a time twice a day. His parents had not been to see him in several days. I, personally, cannot imagine going days without seeing my baby, but I certainly understand that the cost of getting around and having other children to tend to at home and having to work can be quite the burden. At the TCU an important aspect of the baby's care is teaching the parents to use all of the equipment that will be coming home with their special needs children. When my instructor visited the unit to see how my day was going, I felt that familiar sting around my eye lids and broke into tears when I was trying to tell her about my patients. I told her I didn't think Pedi was for me (talk about an understatement!). My eyes are welling up now just remembering that day. I'm thinking I'll stick with labor and delivery, thank you very much! Anyway...
Next semester's schedule is already posted. It looks like I will be with some of my original classmates from Foundations (first semester) once again. I will have lecture from 8 a.m. to noon on Mondays and clinicals from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at Harris Methodist-Downtown. Mondays and Tuesdays will be tough because after lecture I'm guessing I'll have to swing by the hospital to choose my patient(s) and complete paperwork before Tuesday morning, but getting kiddoes to and from school on Wednesdays will no longer be an issue since I'll be available to do that. I'll still be able to do my lunch monitor thing at Alisa's school on Thursdays as well. My instructor for clnicals is one of the few male nursing instructors, Mr. McGraw. I had him for one of my skills check offs while I was in Foundations, and he seems pretty down to earth. I have heard positive reports about him thus far. I am looking forward to the home stretch!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm a survivor!

It seems that the times between blogs is getting longer and longer. Something I used to try to do daily gradually shifted to a couple of times a week to every couple of weeks. It's not that I don't have things to blog about. It's just that the whole "time management" issue with home, family and school has not worked itself out just yet. I'm trying!
I chose the title "I'm a survivor" because I just finished my 8 weeks of OB/Newborn...and passed with an A in clinicals and a B (as in barely) for theory. The clinicals were great. I actually witnessed two births and cared for newborns in the newborn nursery and neonatal intensive care unit as well as a new mom in Postpartum and an expectant mom in antepartum. The experience was just awesome if not way too short. The theory grade was based on two exams only. The first one covered "normal" pregnancy, labor and delivery plus the healthy newborn. It wasn't too bad. The second exam covered complicated pregnancy/childbirth, contraceptives, women's health, etc. It was a "bugger-boo" as my father-in-law would say. I came oh-so-close to not even passing the exam. Several of my classmates didn't pass the exam or the course and will have to move on to Pediatrics, but re-take the OB/Newborn segment in the spring. My heart, mind and livelihood are so set on a May 2010 graduation I don't know what I would do if I had to wait until December 2010 to graduate. I guess I'd do like everyone else and cope with it somehow. It would definitely be difficult.
So, this week it's on to Cooks Children's Hospital in Fort Worth for the remaining eight weeks of this semester. I feel like I've been printing paperwork all weekend long in preparation. No wonder the computer lab in the nursing building has banned nursing students from printing on campus. If 10 students printed out all of the paperwork for clinicals, they'd probably go through a ream of paper every hour. Imagine that times the 100 or so students per graduating class! I'm just looking at all of the paperwork coupled with the fact that the paperwork is due at the end of clinicals and I'm wondering how I'm going to do it. If anyone feels like praying or is looking for something to pray about, "pick me! pick me!" I can use all of the prayers I can get! I must close for now. It's after midnight, and we're planning to attend 8 a.m. mass then C.C.E. at 9 a.m. Good night. Until next time...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wow, I can't believe... long it's been since my last blog. There's no way I can possibly catch up almost a month of life events in a single blog, so I'll just focus on my birthday last week and go from there. My birthday was on Wednesday, 9/23, but Mike & the kids treated me to dinner on Tuesday, my sister-in-law Lani's birthday. It was a good thing because Aaron had a football game, Alisa had tutoring and Mike ended up working late on Wednesday.

I was exhausted from going to bed much too late on Monday night and waking up way too early on Tuesday morning for clinicals, so the grouch in me groaned when everyone shuffled in from football practice and Tia's house, etc. excitedly telling me to change out of my uniform because they had a surprise in mind. Aaron asked why I never answered him about my favorite restaurant. I told him I don't really have a single favorite restaurant; it just depends on what kind of food I'm in the mood for (or where I have a coupon for). So, he asked me where I'd like to go for dinner. I shuffled through some coupons on the table and found one for Red Lobster, so that was decided. Alisa went in my bedroom and laid out an outfit and some jewelry. All I could think of was how much paperwork I had to complete and how tired I was, but I forged on ahead. Why be a party pooper, right?

We went to Red Lobster and PaPa & Tia (my parents) joined us. We were seated promptly because we arrived before the evening crowd (which might not have even been that bad on a Tuesday night anyway). Mike, Aaron & Alisa ordered the all you can eat shrimp feast, I ordered the hardwood grilled tilapia topped with shrimp salsa. Mom and Dad split an order of the same. Of course, I was just about full after eating the cheese-garlic biscuits and my salad! My stomach hurt watching the rest of the crowd eat shrimp after shrimp: cajun shrimp, fried shrimp, shrimp teriyaki, garlic butter shrimp scampi, coconut shrimp (Forrest Gump come to mind?). I had peeped a cake from the Red Oven Bakery in the fridge at home, so I brought home most of my entree in an effort to save a little room for cake. Besides, I like to eat when I'm hungry and the food still tastes good. When you just keep going through the motions of eating when you're already full, you lose half of the pleasure of eating, in my opinion. Anyway...PaPa & Tia followed us home for the cake and ice cream, then PaPa watched some of whatever game was on TV with Mike while Tia, the kids and I visited at the table. Finally, I shooed little people away to get going with baths and homework. My eyes were heavy, and I was overstuffed to boot. The cake was Italian Cream with cream cheese icing complete with pecans and coconut-YUM! Mike had also bought Blue Bell homemade vanilla and my personal favorite, Moolinneum Crunch. I had to pass on the ice cream, though. I'd already wreaked havoc on my digestive system with everything else I'd consumed. There was a single message on the answering machine from Rodney (female with a male name), a friend of mine in Dallas. She sounded out of it, and the message sounded like she said her father had passed away. Never having met her father, and thinking he had been deceased since before I met Rodney, I called her back and got her answering machine after PaPa & Tia had left for the evening.

After I helped A & A with their homework, I didn't think I could go on another hour without a nap at least, but I knew I had paperwork due first thing in the morning from clinicals as well. I decided to catch about an hour nap, then forge ahead until I couldn't make it anymore, then get a couple hours of sleep before getting everyone off to school in the morning, including myself.

As soon as I laid down Rodney called me back (this was about 9:30 p.m.). It turns out it was her mother who had passed away (her father had been deceased for some years). I'd known Cynthia as long as I've known Rodney, and she never had been in the best of health due to a history of diabetes (not very well-controlled) and a stroke almost 20 years ago. Still, the news was quite unexpected. I allowed Rodney to explain all of the events of the past few days leading up to her mother's death, but I could tell I was nodding in and out of conciousness. After an hour she "let me go" so I could get on with whatever I was doing. The house was quiet. I think Mike was still up watcing television, but the kids were in the bed. I attempted to delve into the paperwork, but I was just too tired to focus, so I laid down around 11:30 and got up again at 1:30 a.m. and went back to the drawing board. I arose from the table satisfied with what I'd come up with on my paperwork only to find it was 5:45 a.m. I knew there was no going to sleep for fear that I'd oversleep since I normally get up at 6:30 a.m. Needlesstosay, on my actual birthday I was exhausted.

I got everyone off to school and made it to class myself. As tired as I was I stayed a while in the computer lab to print out some notes and review some online case studies. After I picked up Alisa from school and dropped her back off I made a beeline for my bed. I got a bit of a nap before I picked Alisa up and we headed to Aaron's football game at Ferguson Jr. High. Mike was working until 10 p.m. When Alisa & I were headed to the bleachers I couldn't believe my eyes. Those kids in pads & jerseys were huge! I thought for a minute that a high school game must have just finished up, but quickly realized that high school students wouldn't be playing on a junior high campus. Aaron's shoulder pads were at the waistline of the guy Aaron was supposed to be "blocking." Our Gators had some pretty big kids, too, but they lost their game anyway.

Then, it was home for dinner, homework, baths & bed. I think I made it to bed before midnight. I honestly can't remember a week later. So, that was my big day

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Just a quick note

Just thought I'd test my "quick blog" skills and see if I can really do this in 15 minutes or less. My day started just after 6 a.m. when my alarm went off. I woke up Alisa because her hair was the only reason I was up that early. We got hair done, ate whatever we could find for breakfast (cold cereal with milk, bagels, juice), dressed and made it to 8 o'clock mass. We stopped by a convenient store so Grandmom could get her Sunday paper and then delivered Grandmom back to her home before heading to ours.

Barrett was going to leave a little early for work so he could swing by the Albertsons on N. Collins and check out their "everything must go" inventory reduction sale and report back to me whether it was worth a trip across town. I took pork chops out for dinner and washed up dishes while intermittently checking Alisa's progress in her room. She wanted to go to Xavier's to play, but I reminded her of "first things first": homework, picking up her room, putting away clean clothes, etc. She was not happy about that and tried to bargain, but I finally convinced her to "just do it" and be done. Why is it that I wait for others to take responsibility and do the right thing without being asked, and nothing happens. I remind others of their duties/responsibilities, and I get the response, "I know!" AGGREVATION (on both ends, I'm sure)!

Aaron called Mrs. Monica to braid his hair, and she said to come on over whenever. I was torn between taking him on over to Monica's and coming home to nap or napping first. Then, I had to factor in getting Alisa to my sister's house across town. I finally dropped Aaron at Monica's then headed to Shannon's to drop off Alisa. I stopped by Wal-Mart grocery store on the way back home to get the items on my list. By the time I got into Wal-Mart, Aaron called to say Monica was done with his hair, so I asked her persmission for Aaron to hang out just a little longer while I shopped. In return I picked up some ground beef for Monica.

Mike was home from work when Aaron & I arrived. I ate a snack and laid down expecting to sleep from about 4 'til 5:30 or so then get up and start dinner before picking up Alisa from Xavier's football practice at a school down the street. I received 2 phone calls before I could finish my nap. One I was expecting. One I was not.

I started this blog on 9/6/09, and haven't been on my blog since. Lord knows I don't have any idea who the 2 phone calls were from at this point! Sorry, folks, we'll have to pick up with my birthday in the next blog...Until next time

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wipe Out!

September 4, 2009
Alisa and I finally made it to Hurricane Harbor (HH) today (thanks, Lani, for the tickets!). It was actually a great day to visit the water park because it wasn’t too crowded so the lines weren’t all that bad, and the weather was nice: warm enough to enjoy the cool water rides, but not hot enough to fry our feet while marching from one attraction to the other. We rode several rides. Alisa was much more of a trooper than I thought she’d be. She even tossed out the idea of getting season’s passes next year since we’ve done the Six Flags over Texas passes several times. I guess that just shows how much she’s growing up. *sigh*
For any of you who may not have been to HH in a while, I must warn you to beware of the “Surf’s Up” attraction. Alisa spotted it across the park while we were standing in line for another ride and decided it looked like fun. It looked like hard work and skills to me, but, hey, who am I to deny my daughter who is finally branching out? So, we eventually made our way across the park to the ride. Alisa seemed not to notice the number of people who had lost their modified surf boards before they ever hit the water good. Of course, the long-haired teenage boys who obviously had some experience at this did make it look pretty easy. I wasn’t feeling so confident. Alisa went before me. She kneeled down on her board, tried to paddle to the water and skidded to a halt. Her surfboard was upside down and the slick side that should’ve eased her into the current was directly under her knees. She made some minute maneuver and was separated from her board and swept away. I was next. Okay, the things I knew so far were to place the slick side down and face the square end of the board forward. Otherwise I had no earthly idea what to do. I followed Alisa’s lead and kneeled on the board and headed for the current, which in lay person’s terms seemed like a huge toilet when it is flushed. I thought for just a moment that I had made it onto the “clearing” where I could simply kneel on my board and ride the calm waters in the center of the vortex. Was I ever wrong! That “moment” passed in an instant and the next thing I knew I was inside, outside and upside down. All I remember was tumbling around in a bunch of white water “rapids” and skidding to a halt on my back, feet first, left buttock completely exposed. My first visions were of some kids and younger women standing in line awaiting their turns peering over the rail at me snickering and whispering with their hands over their mouths. I can only imagine what a hot mess I must’ve looked like! I got up with what was left of my dignity and passed my board to the next person in line. Alisa’s comment was, “That was harder than it looks.” No kidding?
Another head’s up: when they say tuck you chin on the new Wedgie ride, they really mean tuck you chin and lean forward a little. This is a two person (figure 8) innertube-type ride that drops you straight down into a curve which propels you up the other side of a large “hairpin” curve. You then rock backward and forward (sometimes spinning this way and that) until you come to a halt in the “u” of the curve and dismount. I thought my chin was tucked until we were headed up the slippery slope and my head snapped back (gives a whole new meaning to “break neck speed”). That was truly uncomfortable. I can tell my neck will be stiff in the morning and maybe even in need of a chiropractic adjustment! The rest of the rides were a lot of fun. I remembered why the Kamikazee and the Black Hole are my two favorites. Alisa enjoyed the kiddie area with the huge bucket of water that dumps from the top of the play equipment at regular intervals. We took some pictures. Well, I took several shots of Alisa. I did ask one lady to snap one of us together. Hopefully, they’ll all turn out okay. We shared a funnel cake-Alisa’s half was sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with whipped cream. My half had powdered sugar and strawberries. It was the best funnel cake I’ve had-fresh, hot and crispy on the outside but tender on the inside. Mmmmm!
We stopped by the hardware store for D.E. Powder for the pool and lawn & leaf trash bags on the way to PaPa & Tia’s to pick up Aaron. For whatever reason he decided he didn’t want to join us at HH. My nephew, Trey, and his mom and cousin were there visiting. We stayed only a short while. It was already after 8 p.m. and I had tonight’s dinner and Alisa’s hair to consider for church tomorrow.
I made ham and cauliflower soup for dinner served with toasted bagels with melted cheese and mint iced tea. It was after nine o’clock before we finished eating. Alisa washed her hair and blow-dried it as best she could, but I know I’ll have to wake her up super early to tackle it in the morning if we are to make it to 8 o’clock mass.
Luckily, I had washed up a ton of dishes (I even ran my dishwasher) this morning while visiting with Barrett who popped in for a visit since we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other all week. So, my kitchen wasn’t the mess it usually is. I tried to wash up some things as I went along while preparing the soup. The rest will have to wait until tomorrow. Sunday’s agenda: church, dishes, weekly menu, grocery shopping, dinner prep, nap and study, study, study. In actuality, it will probably be church, grocery shopping, nap, dinner prep, finish laundry, help A & A with homework, stu-*yawn*-dy (maybe tomorrow) and to bed. Speaking of bed…Good night. Until next time…

Friday, September 4, 2009

agony of defeat

Friday, September 3, 2009
Jamie and I went to the Arlington High vs Southlake Carroll High football game tonight and watched the poor Colts get donkey-stomped by the dragons. It was not a pretty sight! AHS lost possession of the ball in the first play of the game! It was pretty much downhill from there. We did manage to score a touchdown after half time, but I believe that was the only one scored for the home team. As Jamie and I were leaving at the top of the 4th quarter we heard the crowd erupt in cheers and saw the scoreboard change once again: AHS 7, SCHS 32. It was definitely time to go.
Although I only washed enough dishes to clear one side of the sink, I finally managed to get the fridge cleaned out--in time for garbage pick up, too (probably because the rain must have backed up the sanitation engineers). I cut up the watermelon and canteloupe that had been sitting around since my venture to Fiesta food mart last Tuesday and discarded the rinds for pick up as well. I was in the kitchen long enough to finish one book on tape and listen to the first 2 discs (about 68 minutes each) of another while piddling in the kitchen and fridge. I wanted desperately to stop and check e-mails or take a nap, but I made myself stay the course. Whew! I am glad that is done. I did manage to get about a 45 minute "cat nap", and was once again reminded of the 30 minutes or 2 hours rule for naps as I dragged myself out of bed to pick up Alisa from school. After I picked her up, we stopped by the public library. The automated system had called to tell me that I had items being held for me; and I wanted to check out a copy of The Giver, a book Aaron is currently reading for language arts class. Experience has taught me that it is better to have a copy around the house and not ever use it than to need a copy when the school copy is left in a locker and the library is already closed for the night.
From there I made lunch for Alisa & me. She had leftover "sloppy joe" Hamburger Helper and watermelon. I had pizza bagels. Mom called to ask if Costco had a coupon for the Lipton Green Tea bottles. I told her I was going through the coupons when she called and, yes, they did have one for what she was looking for. She decided she'd tag along with me to Costco. By this time Mike was home from work, so Alisa had the option to stay and snooze or go with me (and stay with Leyla and PaPa while Tia & I went shopping). She chose the latter, of course.
I gassed up my van at Costco ($2.32/gallon for regular unleaded) then headed to the Highlands to get to Borders Bookstore. I had a "save 40% off any one item" coupon, and I needed a maternal-infant nursing care plan book. It was worth a shot. They didn't have exactly what I was looking for, but they did have a "comprehensive" care plan book which had more maternity and pediatric plans than my present book, so I purchase it. I will compare what they have at the bookstore on campus when I return to lecture on Wednesday. Meanwhile, I will at least have something.
Then, it was off to Costco to shop. I knew I needed some basics: dog food, milk, cheese, eggs, and several more items like bath soap and vitamins for which I had coupons. I left there about $112.00 lighter, but with some much-needed reinforcements. I dropped off my mom and picked up Alisa once again. We made it back home just before Mike & Aaron returned from Aaron's football practice.
Mike was the one who really wanted to go to the Arlington High vs. Southlake Carroll High game, but neither Aaron nor Alisa wanted to go. (Actually, that was a blessing because the tickets were $7.00 each for general admission-no reduced price for kids or students. (I certainly tried to use my TCC student ID to no avail.) I offered to stay home with the kids so he could go to the game, but he told me to go on with Jamie so we could have some "catching up" time together. I called Jamie who had waffled back and forth about going, just like I had. We decided to go and support my alma mater in a unanimous "Okay, I'll go if you go"-type agreement. The weather had threatened rain, but nothing came of it and it was actually nice and "cool" out (well, maybe not cool, but not sweltering hot, either). I love to spend early mornings and evenings in the great outdoors this time of year! Good night. Until next time.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Weekly business

Well, it appears that this blogging business is going to be a weekly affair vs. everyday updates. It is 10:15 on Thursday evening and both kiddoes are fast asleep in their beds (nothing shy of a miracle since the advent of the new school year)! I set out today with two goals in mind: balance the checkbook and clean out the fridge for garbage pick up tomorrow. I accomplished a lot (sort of) but the refrigerator still has some mystery sticky spots on a couple of the shelves, so I obviously didn't get around to that. The problem was that in order to clean out the fridge the sinks must be free of dirty dishes so I have somewhere to carefully wash the glass shelves before drying them and returning them to their proper spots. In order for the sink to be free of dirty dishes, pots & pans, someone has to wash them and put them away. In order for plastic containers to be put away, the cabinet containing them must be re-organized because some of the "help" just tosses containers in there any old way (without matching up the lids, mind you) when it's their turn to empty the dishwasher and there's an avalanche just waiting to happen each time I open the cabinet doors. In order for the cabinet to be rearranged, the floor really needs to be swept and mopped because God forbid some of the unstable containers fall on the nasty floor in the process of reorganizing. (In my next life the floors will be swept daily and mopped weekly or as needed!) I think you all get the picture. It's kind of like the children's book If You Give a Pig a Pancake only unlike the little pig in the book that eventually gets back to eating her tasty pancakes, I rarely get back to the original task I intended to get done. The container cabinet did get rearranged, and the checkbook reconciled but not balanced. The dishes and floors...well, not so much! I honestly cannot understand how my poor little kitchen stays so cluttered! My mom says I simply have too much "stuff" (her word choice involved 4 letters beginning with the same letter "s"). I contend that I use all of it (which is quite evident when you stop by and see all of it all over the kitchen). Anyway, my point was? I only had two major goals for the day, and I only half completed one of them. Should I consider that a good day? Of course I will because I did manage to bag up 2 garbage bags of dead weeds Mike chopped down about two weeks ago and left for dead in the backyard. While I was out there I tended the pool which practically turned green overnight when the water level was a little low and so the water didn't circulate and filter properly. I already mentioned the plastic cabinet. In addition I scrubbed the tile/grout in my shower just 'cause I couldn't take it anymore and I was already sweaty and in desperate need of a shower from being outdoors. I prepared the kids a hot breakfast and packed their lunches for them. Then, there was the checkbook business and picking kids and band instruments up from school and helping with homework and washing a few dishes. I'm half-tempted to head straight for the fridge and at least get the "old" food and meat packaging out of the way (there are still too many dishes everywhere to remove the shelves from the fridge for cleaning). The smarter half will probably just head for bed when I'm done with this. My allergies are kicking up a bit--don't know if it's from wrangling those weeds this morning or something blowing around in the air with the storm heading from Weatherford. The rest will probably do me some good. I didn't get much of a nap. By the time I finished with the checkbook and checking e-mails it was already after 1 p.m. and I had to leave just after 2 to pick up Alisa for 2:30. Mike must have come in around 1:45 and started with his incessant chatter. Has he not heard the saying, "Let sleeping dogs lie"? Not that I consider myself a dog per se, but you know what I mean! I know I certainly uphold the phrase while he's asleep.
Class went well on both Monday and Wednesday (lecture on campus). We had a substitute on Monday (for which I am thankful because my telephone started ringing shortly after she began her lecture, and guess who forgot to silence their ringer? I sit front and center -as in directly in front of the instructor. Had Mrs. Blue been there I probably would have been thrown out of class on my ear or at the very least been glared at disapprovingly!). The assignments that have to be submitted online are actually a pretty fun way to review material we cover in class to keep us on our toes and prepare us for the first exam.
Tuesday was a different matter altogether. We all met in the lobby of the women's services building at 6:20 a.m. (well, one student was late, again, but most everybody else was there on time). Mrs. Blue asked if we all had our paperwork for post conference. I almost fainted! What paperwork was she talking about? We hadn't seen any patients so I didn't know what paperwork we were supposed to have for post conference! I asked a classmate, and she responded, "She told us to to those 8 or 9 pages out of the CID (course information document, formerly known as a syllabus)." Sweet Baby Jesus, did she really just say 8 or 9 pages?!! A fuzzy recollection of Mrs. Blue going thru the CID and jumping around from one thing to another and telling us to get on the computers and watch this video or that one came back to my mind, but not "complete 8 or 9 pages and bring them to post-conference." I was in a panic mode. Many instructors will threaten to send you home if you're unprepared for clinicals, and how much more "unprepared" can you be than to not have completed 8 or 9 pages of assignments! I was all ready to 'fess up and go home ashamed and in tears, but I decided I would do what I could during our 30 minute lunch break (even if it meant no lunch) and any "down time" on my unit. I had my CID in my bag with me and my textbook was in the car. If I didn't finish a page or two I'd just say I overlooked them and take the "partial" heat. As it turned out, the assignments were pretty easy: a couple were matching and simple calculations like figuring a due date based on the LMP (last menstrual period). I had the charge nurse help me assign apgar scores to newborn infant case studies. And, I had a couple notes jotted in my spiral notebook in my bag. By postconference, I was good to go. I was so glad I hadn't crumbled and gone groveling earlier. I thought we were going to turn in the pages, but we went over them "around the table" style in postconference and then just put them back in our notebooks. One of my goals for this weekend is to get a roster typed up with everyone's name, e-mail and telephone numbers for clinicals. This way, I (and anyone else) can double check with more than one source about pending due dates, etc. I stayed up until 3 o'clock Wednesday morning finishing my care plan for the NICU I visited on Tuesday. I guess I'm going to have to break down and purchase a maternal-infant care plan book because it was difficult trying to find diagnoses, interventions and rationales for a tiny little baby who was stable but not yet ready to return home because she couldn't drink 2 ounces for milk on her own at each feeding. I did learn an interesting fact in the NICU: babies are only allowed to "nipple" or drink from a bottle/breast for 30 minute intervals because any time beyond that they're burning more calories than they are consuming. Wouldn't it be great if it worked that way for adults? We'd start burning off the calories we were consuming while eating after 30 minutes! I'll try to write a little bit more about the tiny little babies and my experience in the NICU tomorrow while kids are at school (after I clean out that fridge, of course!). Good night. Until next time...

Friday, August 28, 2009

In my mind's eye

Well, we all officially survived the first full week of school. Aaron has decided that he doesn’t like 8th grade so much. I have a feeling it got off to a bad start when he missed suiting out for the first day of football practice because I forgot to get his paperwork notarized. Then, his allergies kicked in on the first day of school as well. I teased that maybe he really is allergic to school! Alisa is still hanging in there although her work load is quite a bit heavier than it has been in the past. I think she is afraid to complain much since she wanted so desperately to go to a new school. I have decided that I think this is going to be a great semester, partly because maternal child health is an area of interest to me and partly because my instructor is a woman after my own heart—no nonsense. I haven’t been able to get in the groove of things which sucks for me because it’s not like we have a lot of time for putzing around.
My “fairy book” rendition of the way things in a perfect world would go has been blown to smithereens this week. I envisioned myself maximizing the use of my time on campus and spending time in the library after class to study uninterrupted. After clinicals on Tuesday when we were dismissed early to get cracking on online assignments I should have headed straight to the library for the remaining two hours my family thought I would be in class anyway, but no, I stopped by the store and headed home and fixed them dinner and stayed up late with children doing their homework. Thursday, I awoke thinking, “This will be a super-productive day!” I’ll drop kids off at school. Mike will be gone to work. I can get a lot done. Only I was so exhausted that around 11 a.m. I just had to lie down for a nap and didn’t get up until almost 2 o’clock in the afternoon. By then, it was almost time to pick up Alisa and get on with the evening duties, like dinner, dishes & kids’ homework. I still deem my family to be my first priority, crazy as it may sound.
In my mind’s eye, this is the way my days would go:
Monday: Get kids to school, wash up breakfast dishes, pack a lunch and then get to school myself by 9:45. (On the course description, class is to begin at 10:10, but Mrs. Blue calls roll at 10:00 and is already into her lecture by 10:10). After class ends at 12:00, I eat my lunch and head to the library or computer lab to study and review lecture notes. By 2:15 I am headed home to be there in time to pick up Alisa from school at 3:15 (and maybe catch a 30 minute nap if I’m lucky). Alisa has from 4 to 5:30 to work on homework and ask for assistance. Football practice is over for Aaron at 5:30, so I pick him up and prepare dinner while he showers and takes a “break” before eating dinner and hitting his books. Dinner (which is preplanned on a monthly calendar and for which groceries were purchased over the weekend--I said in my mind's eye!) is served between 6:30 and 7:00, so we’re all done by 7:30 at the latest. I then help Aaron with his homework (if needed) between 7:30 and 9:00. At 9:00 I read a chapter to Alisa form her current library selection. By 9:30 Aaron’s headed to bed. I could theoretically be in bed by 10 or 10:30 p.m., which would be especially helpful since I have to be up by 5:15 on Tuesday for a 6:20 a.m. start at the hospital.
Tuesday: I would be up at 5:15 to shower, dress in uniform, eat breakfast & pack a lunch and snacks for the hospital with an estimated departure time of 6 a.m. Mrs. Blue does not do “late.” After my 9 hours at the hospital (Mrs. Blue says she dismisses a bit early so we have ample time to do online assignments), I’d head to the library to take advantage of an hour or so of uninterrupted study time before heading home to see a hubby and kids who have made dinner, eaten, saved me a plate, and washed up the dishes. I could then field any homework questions, read to my bunny and get to bed by 10 or 10:30 p.m. (or earlier if possible-that 5 a.m. wake-up and no chance of a nap is a beast!)
Wednesday would most likely be similar to Monday. Only I could use a couple hours in the evening to study, read or review online exercises since I do not have class on Thursday morning. I could have 10:00-11:30 p.m. to study myself before turning in.
Unfortunately, my week went nothing like any of the above. Aaron & Alisa were both up well past 10 o’clock themselves a couple of nights which pushed my “study time” past 11:30 one night. I was so exhausted I didn’t get much done. Wednesday I had to hurry home to meet Mr. Ray, the pool repair man who was to arrive "in the afternoon" (i.e., no specific time given). I already recounted the events of Thursday, and this morning after dropping kids off at school I had to head to the dealership to get my inspection sticker renewed (I did get in a good hour’s worth of reading there). I just did have time to get home, grab a bite to eat for lunch and head back out to pick up Alisa (her new school dismisses is early on Fridays). I baked cupcakes for Aaron’s Fine Arts picnic this evening. I did manage to get about an hour and a half nap. I cannot understand the exhaustion I feel. I can’t help but wonder if it’s hormonal or something because I feel tired all of the time. Wednesday, I took 2 naps! If I do manage to get in bed at a “reasonable hour” (i.e., before the crack of dawn or midnight-ish), I find Mike laying in wait and thinking it’s all for him, so my actual “get to go to sleep” time is just as late as any other night.
I must be the world’s worse time manager because there never seem to be enough hours in a day to finish what I need to do. You notice there’s no mention of laundry or other housework outside of cooking and washing dishes referenced above! I feel like I’m in constant motion (which is the name of my future autobiography, by the way: In Constant Motion: a Story of the life of Eastlyn White) but never productive enough to feel a sense of accomplishment. Just once I would like to be like one of my classmates who manages to go to bed by 10 o’clock (or earlier) every night and still gets all assignments done on time, stays caught up with the reading and assignments and shows up to class refreshed and ready to learn. I feel like a newborn who has her days and nights mixed up. If I could get to bed at a reasonable hour maybe, just maybe I could function without the daily naps. But how do I turn it all around when I have to be up until the crack of dawn helping young people with their studies? Please pray for a more balanced schedule as the semester goes on. I need all the help and prayers I can get. Good night. Until next time…

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

1st day of clinicals

Well, I'm waiting for the Ray the pool service guy to come and reattach the leads to our non-chlorine system on the swimming pool. I tripped over them at the end of last summer (right after we'd had them replaced) and figured we'd just do without the system and go back to chlorine. As it turns out the chlorine-free coppper/ion system keeps costs down considerably and it's like swimming in bottled water as opposed to dry, itchy chlorine skin. Missy is going ballistic. Ray must be in the backyard...I'll be right back.
Turns out Ray has been in the backyard long enough to finish the work and didn't even charge me. What a blessing! And, I can get the pool back right and maybe even enjoy a few more swims before the weather cools off. This, folks, is why you keep the faith.
At any rate, it's about naptime right quick before I have to pick up kids, run errands, fix dinner, study, read, help with homework, etc. I just wanted to tell you about my first clinical day.
We didn't have to arrive at the hospital until 7:45 a.m. (unlike 6:20 a.m. beginning next week) for orientation yesterday. I didn't leave home until almost 7:30, but managed to catch the same shuttle from the parking lot to the hospital as my instructor. She has made it abundantly clear that she is not one to tolerate "late." Hospital staff went over some basic information, then we marched upstairs to get our ID badges and back down again to take our dosage calculation exam (yes, on the first day of clinicals!-good to have it over with). We took about an hour break for lunch and then toured the hospital. Mrs. Blue informed us that she would deliver us to our assigned spots next Tuesday and after that we'd be on our own to get where we belonged. In my opinion, finding one's way around the hospital is one of the hardest tasks of nursing school! Most people have heard of "code red" meaning fire or "code blue" meaning someone has stopped breathing. I think MCA will have to implement a code turquois (TCC uniform color) meaning lost TCC students are wandering aimlessly about the hospital. Oh well, I guess we'll figure it out over the next couple of weeks. Because we only have 6 actual clinical days we don't get to spend a great amount of time in any one area. We will have just one or two days in antepartum, labor & delivery, postpartum, neonatal intensive care unit, newborn nursery, OR and/or triage. At first I was a little bummed because I would have liked more time in this area, but given the choice of one or two days only and extending school an entire extra semester, I'll gladly take the one or two days! At least I get 2 days in L&D. Mrs. Blue dismissed us after we got "checked off" on administering an intramuscular injection on an infant mannekin (piece of cake-we'll see how it goes next week on real newborns). She wasn't just being nice, either. She gave us about 8 different assignments to work on along with online study assignments. She meant for us to go home and get right on the computer for at least two hours. I was on the computer all right--chasing my tail around in circles trying to figure out what in the world the online assignments were. I finally resorted to reading a bit and crashed around 12:45 a.m.
Between the hospital and home I stopped by Costco for a few staples we were out of. I couldn't find my Krusteaz pancake & waffle mix : ( so I went with Bisquick instead. I headed home, got on the computer for a bit, wanted (needed) a nap, but I figured I'd better a dinner plan together. Alisa requested Popeyes (2-piece for 99 cents on Tuesday), and who was I to argue? I stopped by Fiesta for fresh fruit & vegetables then grabbed the chicken and made it back home.
I called Aaron en route and asked him to put on the water for the mashed potatoes since I was close. I came home to water, milk and butter in a saucepan on the stove and Alisa was measuring the instant mashed potatoes. There I said it! Yes, I use instant mashed potatoes sometimes. As much as I would have liked to praise her for her efforts, the first thing out of my mouth was "why did you add the milk?" I tried to explain that the reason I rarely allow her in the kitchen is she doesn't follow directions. It was just a big mess. I ended up throwing out the milk, water & margarine and starting over-what a waste! We all survived, then A & A both had unfinished homework with which they needed help. So, I finally got around to mine just after 10 o'clock. Never did get that nap...that's why I'm headed that way now. I have approximately 50 minutes before I have to leave to get Alisa. More later...maybe.
p.s. I made 100% on the math exam! It was pretty tough. Usually I'm done with plenty of time to spare. This time around I barely finished checking my work before she was calling for the papers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A short bit...yeah, right

Hello, all! This will seriously be a short bit just because it's 10:20 p.m. and I have an early start tomorrow as I tour the hospital, take a math test and practice giving an injection to a newborn (yikes!) mannekin before the real deal gets underway next week. Today was my first day back, and I'm strapping on my elbow pads, knee pads and helmet because it's going to be some roller coaster ride for the next several weeks. I'm excited because it's all about labor and delivery which many of you know is my passion, but I'm also apprehensive because there's so much to learn and I'll have two patients (mother and baby) instead of just one. [insert nailbiting emoticon with sweat popping off of it's forehead here]
It looks like I last blogged on Thursday of last week. Let me back up and bring you up to date as quickly as I can in the next five minutes: I finally registered for class and signed up for the payment plan to pay my tuition (nothing like putting that off until the final hour, huh? In my defense, no money is no money). Barrett hung out with Aaron & me on Friday. He had one of those rare two-weekend-days-off. He brought me a filter for the internet so my internet connection wouldn't be compromised whenever the telephone rings, but the cable wasn't long enough. Good try, B. Thanks, anyway. I'll have to contact AT&T about getting a phone jack installed in my office. I picked up Alisa at her designated dismissal time (3:15) , then Sasha came over while her parents (brother Shawn & his wife Renee) went to the Cowboy's game at the new stadium. She ended up spending the night with us.
Saturday morning, we got up had waffles for breakfast. This was Sasha's request because she told me we always have pancakes, pancakes, pancakes! I did a ton of laundry in preparation for everyone being caught up and ready for school/work on Monday. That evening, the kids and I ran out to do some last minute school supplies and shoe shopping. We ended up ordering pizza from PaPa John's (buy one, get one free offer online!). Mike was working late; yet and still we had barely finished eating our pizza when he made it home.
Sunday, my main agenda included attending early mass, stopping by the grocery store, baking cookies for Fran's belated birthday, taking a nap, delivering the cookies, fixing a nice soul food dinner (with peach cobbler for dessert, of course) to be served by 6:30 p.m., wash dishes, blog a bit, and get in bed at a reasonable time. Lo and behold, I just happened to look online for my class schedule and there was an assignment (to have been submitted via campus cruiser yesterday!) not to mention a ton of "notes" to download. My day was shot. I didn't end up leaving for the grocery story until 6:45 p.m. The kitchen was still a wreck. Dinner wasn't served until 9:00 p.m. (without peach cobbler, I might add), and I didn't go to bed until around 12:30 a.m.
I have 5 chapters to read before Wednesday (2 of which should have been read for today) plus more math to review for the exam tomorrow-this is a dosage calculation exam we take in the beginning of each semester. We have two chances to pass with 90% or better or we won't be allowed to attend clinicals this semster. For obvious patient safety reasons medication errors simply cannot be tolerated.
I think I set a record. This blog only took 25 minutes to compose. Now it's off to study *yawn.* Wish me luck tomorrow! Good night. Until next time...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

comedy of errors

Today is the last Thursday of my summer break, so I'm trying desperately to learn to keep my blogs short and sweet (yeah, right, after yesterday's post, huh?) so I can continue to blog and not feel guilty about it.
Alisa survived day #2 at her new school, and pick up went a lot more smoothly. I still need to go online and check out their volunteer opportunities so I can do my part, limited though it may be.
Tia had a lunch date with some of her lady friends from Cursillo (semiannual Catholic retreat movement) so she asked me to watch Xavier and Leyla for a couple of hours this afternoon. I don't get to see them much, and it will be even less once school is back in full swing so I agreed. She dropped them off around 11 o'clock.
Prior to that I couldn't decide whether to tidy up the kitchen and be ready to help Xavier bake a cake for his Mom & Dad's anniversary or take a nap (I had been up quite late posting yesterday's blog and I was tired). The nap prevailed. I fell asleep listening to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (a chanted or sung version of the Holy Rosary). I awoke and headed straight for the kitchen to get ready to bake. I also had to make cupcakes for the teachers' back to school luncheon at Gunn tomorrow. I opened the oven door and noticed the floor of the oven was a little nasty. I think I mentioned a burning oil smell when my turkey was roasting the night before last. If not, the smell permeated the house, and I think I asked my sis-in-law for suggestions for getting rid of the smell. Anyway, I went to wipe the bottom of the oven and it was saturated with oil. I mean it looked like someone had just opened a bottle of olive oil and poured it in my oven! My first thought was some variation of the word "dam," followed by the realization that my entire family could have been deep brown and crispy like the turkey turned out had all of that grease caught afire in the middle of the night. the aluminum roasting pan obviously must have had a slow leak (there were still a lot of drippings in the pan with the turkey). Thank goodness the temp was on a moderate 325 degrees and not any higher! When Xavier arrived I explained that I had a huge mess to clean up before we could begin baking, and that I could use his and Aaron's help to keep an eye on Miss Leyla while I went to work.
Once the mess was no more than a bad memory, I baked the cakes for Xavier, then baked my cupcakes. (I could still smell the burning oil smell a little-maybe I'll set a measuring cup of vinegar in the oven overnight.) It was going on 2 o'clock and not looking as if I would have time to decorate the cake before Tia returned to collect the kids. I hadn't even made the buttercream frosting. We came up with a plan: If I wasn't done with the cake by the time X's dad picked him up from Tia's house, I would bring the cake to their house while Xavier and his family were at his school to meet his new 5th grade teacher. It would be more of a surprise that way. Xavier had planned out a menu which included Ramen noodles and salad as appetizers, cheese sandwiches, steak, fruit salad and quesadillas for the main entrees. Bless his heart; he wanted so badly to surprise his parents on their anniversary.
Here's the plan we came up with: Tia made chicken spaghetti for the Flowers. I baked and decorated the cake for their anniversary. Xavier was supposed to make the salad. I had to let Derrick in on the secret a little bit so he would leave the screen door unlocked for me. All I told him was there was a delivery scheduled for their house while they were at the school. Sneak a peak started at 6 p.m. & Shannon was supposed to leave work, pick up her family & head to Xavier's school. Tia & I would sneak in the house, leave the food and anniversary gift and be gone by the time they returned home.
Here's how the plan finally went down: Tia & I pulled onto Shannon & Derrick's street at 6 p.m. thinking they should already be at the school. I called D's cell phone just to touch base, and he was still at home waiting for Shannon to show up. Okay, slight change of plans. I told Derrick to hide in his bedroom and have Xavier open the door. We could still drop off the stuff and be gone by the time Shannon arrived. Xavier opened the door with the telephone to his ear; and to whom do you suppose he was speaking? His mother, of course! I stick Tia's dish in the oven and rearrange a few things in the fridge to accommodate the cake plate, gather up the boxes and bags and head back for the front door thinking, "That wasn't too bad!" I turn the bend from the kitchen to the foyer and what to my surprise do my eyes behold?! Alisa talking to Aunt Shannon on the telephone! She ended the call as Aaron, Tia & I stared daggers through her. What was she thinking?! How exactly did she explain her presence at Aunt Shannon's house? We skedaddled out of the house, into the van and down the street. It turned out that Xavier kind of spilled the beans when Shannon told him it sounded like Alisa in the background and he somehow got the impression that he should pass the phone to Alisa (tell-tale heart :-).
Xavier called me later this evening to tell me everything went off nicely. Shannon and Derrick were grateful for the food because they were tired and hadn't really made plans for the evening. Again, I say to you, all's well that ends well.
We stopped by Lorenzo & Lani's house for a quick visit then headed home to "barbecue turkey sandwiches" and fruit for dinner.
My neck has been bothering me most of the day. I don't recall whether it was hurting when I awoke this morning or if started after my nap. Obviously, this can be attributed to "sleeping wrong." At any rate, the kids took turns trying to "adjust" my neck by pulling on my head and trying to massage my neck. I'll have to put Mike on the task before he drifts off which will probably be any minute now if he's not already knocked out after working a double shift today. Good night. Until next time...

p.s. I need to work on timing a little more. This blog took the better part of an hour even if I subtract the time spent chatting with Mike and tucking in Aaron. Of course, once classes resume next week, I won't have nearly as many adventures to blog about. I'll just come up with a template like we used to give the parents at Advent PDO: Today your child was:____. This is what we did today: _______. S/He ate ( ) all ( ) some ( ) none of his/her lunch. S/He slept/rested from ___ to ___. etc. Only mine will look like this:
Today class was: ( ) boring ( ) exciting ( ) somewhere in between
I learned about ____________________. My next exam is ___________________.
I did/did not attend study group.
Here's what I did today:_____________.
And so on and so forth! Oops! I just added about 10 minutes to my blog time. Gotta go...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

They are precious in His sight

I just logged off of Lisa's blog ( She has posted pictures of her precious baby boy who was delivered into God's hands last night. Please continue to pray for the Banks family as they adjust to life without their little one.

In a world where we can find so much to complain about...long lines at the grocery store, the price of everything, dirty clothes on the floor, etc., it only takes a moment like this to realize the beauty of a life we are fortunate to have in the first place. My heart is absolutely breaking for the loss of two "babies" in one week's time. Little Hailey Mayz unexpectedly left this world to be with God last Tuesday, and now Patrick Steven Banks has been called home as well. Praise be to God.

Gosh! I didn't realize it has been over a week since my last update ("Free tacos" was actually from last Tuesday 8/11/09 although I posted it Friday the 14th). So, I guess I had not shared with you the news of Hailey's death before now. This is the granddaughter of a friend of my aunt. When Hailey was born three short years ago, she was premature and had medical complications which kept her in and out of hospitals. Her mom had just posted a blog celebrating Hailey's life and health last month after Hailey's 3rd birthday. On Wednesday morning (8/12/09) I received the news from my aunt that Hailey's mom put her down for a nap Tuesday afternoon, and she never woke up. The fact that Hailey had just been to the doctor for a check up prior to a family trip and received a clean bill of health confounded everyone all the more. I continue to pray for her family and ask that you do the same.

We've been busy getting ready for a new school year. Friday was dedicated to shopping for school supplies on a shoestring budget. We found some great deals between Wal-Mart superstore and Office Depot. Saturday morning Alisa had her "meet the teacher" back-to-school picnic at Randol Mill Aquatic Center. The kids were upset that they were not allowed to ride in the Volkswagen test drive fundraiser where the school receives $5.00 for every adult who test drove their Toureg (minivan) or the convertible. We rushed home from that to change clothes, grab lunch, and deliver kids to PaPa & Tia's house. Barrett and I headed to Our Mother of Mercy for a meeting of C.C.E. teachers with the director of religious education. Afterwards, B hung out with us for most of the afternoon. I received a phone call from Mom asking if I'd ever heard of "salivary gland stones." For some reason they sounded familiar--I didn't know much about them, but I had heard of them before. It turns out my brother had been to the ER the night before, and that was his diagnosis. I stayed up researching the condition and forwarded my findings to both Lani (sister-in-law) and Mom.

We attended 10 o'clock mass Sunday morning, and received a surprise when Fr. LeDoux had a concelebrant: Fr. Louis, a new priest from the Friary next door. I got a little choked up thinking of Hailey's family, but I managed to pray for them and my nephew, Trey, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday, and my brother. I could not pray aloud for Lisa Banks and family but I did so silently with a huge lump in my throat. Jesus really does love the little children. I can only imagine the strength, courage and faith one must have to be prepared to say goodbye before you have the chance to say hello.

Barrett joined us for lunch (of tortilla pizzas made to order, I might add) after church and even updated his blog (at long last)! He headed home for dinner, and I fixed steak fingers, mashed potatoes with cream gravy and green beans for me and the kids. Mike was working late, and would probably grab something at the airport.

Monday, Alisa had another "meet the teacher/open house" at her new school from 9-10:30 a.m. We all got up, had breakfast and headed out. Her new teacher, Mrs. Ford, formerly taught 3rd grade, but has moved up to teach 6th grade this year. Alisa will rotate to 2 other six-grade teachers throughout the day in addition to a variety of other classes for art, P.E., Spanish, etc. I dropped Alisa off at PaPa & Tia's to "babysit" Leyla and hang out with Xavier. Unfortunately, Leyla slept most of the time Alisa was there. I picked her up just before 5 p.m. to take her to try on more uniforms at a second hand shop I learned sold Parker brand uniforms. We found 2 pieces that fit-a khaki skort and navy shorts, but they weren't the exact style as was listed on the school's list. I may go back and purchase them, ask about the style at the school office and return them if they do not qualify as "official" uniforms. The prices were pretty steep in my opinion for a resale shop, but I had to admit that they were between 35 & 40% less than the brand new cost. That evening I returned to the school for "curriculum night." There were probably only about 10 parents present for this meeting. I guess by 6th grade a lot of the parents knew the drill and also knew they'd get the same information sent home on the first day of school. I had left a pot of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove and put on a pot of spaghetti noodles to cook before I left. When I returned home Mike & the kids had already eaten and were washing dishes. What a welcome sight!
Tuesday morning Alisa & I headed out after breakfast to get our hair done-hers relaxed and mine cut off. Thank you to Tia and Aunt Shannon who scraped together enough money to cover Alisa's hair. Thanks to Alisa who loaned me her birthday money to get my hair cut. PayDay Loans don't have anything on family! Mike and Aaron had headed out to cut the grass at Jessie's house and then left a message that they had gone to Dallas to pick up Mike's dad so he could tour the new Dallas Cowboys' stadium. When Alisa & I had been in the house just long enough for Alisa to warm leftover steak fingers & mashed potatoes with gravy the doorbell rang. It was Aaron. Mike & his dad were in the car wanting to know if we wanted to join them for lunch. We all loaded up and headed to...Pappadeaux's around 1:30. (Mike's dad was treating.) They have changed their lunch menu a bit, but it was all good. Aaron & I ordered po-boy sandwiches which were so big we could barely finish half! Mike & his dad ordered the seafood sampler or something like that: fried catfish, shrimp & crawfish with a ton of fries--YUM! At first Alisa said she didn't want anything, but then decided she wanted fried crawfish (which turned out to be more expensive than Aaron's & my po-boys). Of course, Mike just had to have dessert, so he and Alisa split the praline cheesecake. I had to help Alisa finish hers because she was just miserable even though she hadn't eaten much crawfish. Can you say "sinfully scrumptious"? In retrospect I think Alisa could well have eaten the crawfish off of Mike's platter and a few French fries off of my plate and been happy-especially since Mike did the whole insisting on having dessert thing. That would have saved Mike's dad about $12.00, too. Oh well, I didn't fuss or argue about it.

Anyway, Mike drove his dad home to Dallas & Alisa & I fell out (a case of the "itis"). Aaron was chillin' out watching TV. Later we had to run to Walmart for a backpack, socks and a couple other school supplies (thank goodness I found $20 of Alisa's Christmas money stashed away). We spent $20.21. We made one last stop by Target before returning home for the night. By then it was after 8:00. Alisa was in bed just after 9:00, but she kept getting up. I don't know what time she finally went to sleep. I stayed up to make tuna salad for Alisa's lunch and roast a turkey (just to have something for us to eat for the next few days). I fell in the bed just after midnight, but set my alarm to get up at 1:00 & check on the turkey neck that was cooking on the stove for Missy. I asked Mike to wake me before he went to work so I could check on the turkey itself. He apparently thought this meant to wake me when he woke up and talk to me for 30 minutes while he got dressed. This is how my day began this morning.

The turkey looked and smelled fine. I went back to bed and awoke around 5 a.m. to remove the turkey from the oven. It was all golden brown and crispy--I had slathered real butter on the skin and sprinkled it generously with salt and pepper. I stuffed coarsely chopped onion, green pepper and celery into the cavity. Unfortunately, it looked better than it tasted. I sampled a bit when I sliced some for a sandwich for Aaron's lunch. Once it had cooled I took all of the meat off of the carcass and refrigerated it.
Let me back up just a moment. Today was Alisa's first day of school! She looked absolutely adorable in her uniform (plaid jumper & white blouse with peter pan collar) with her hair all straight and shiny. I'm sure she'd prefer another adjective, but precious probably wouldn't satisfy her any more than adorable. Tia stopped by to take a couple pictures & I took a couple as well. Alisa was very nervous about her first day at a new school, but I assured here that she would not be the only one. She was #13 on the waiting list, so chances are there are several other students who are new to the school as well. After dropping Alisa off (I did park and go in just because today was the first day and she had all of her school supplies in addition to her backpack, lunch & snack), I returned home and spent most of the morning checking e-mails, on the phone, paying bills, etc. Around noon I was already anxious to pick Alisa up and find out how her day had gone. Around 2:15 Aaron and I set out to run a few errands before picking up Alisa at 3:15. I had made a colorful sign to stick on my dashboard announcing that I was there for "Alisa White, 6th grade/Ford," but I left it on the kitchen island, so I made another with a piece of paper and orange marker I found in my car while we waited. We sat unmoving from 2:55 until about 3:10. I wasn't sure if I was in the proper lane when cars in the one to my right started moving. As Murphy's Law would have it, the moment I found someone to let me ease into the right lane, it stopped and the left lane I had just jumped out of began moving. C'est la vie, no? It was about 3:25 when we finally pulled off of the school lot. We ran a couple more errands, including picking up Aaron's friend, Shawn, to come hang out for a while.
Alisa came in, ate her leftover crawfish from Pappadeaux and got right onto her homework. I was impressed. She didn't ask for help or complain about doing it...just got right to it! I definitely hope this is a new leaf she has turned over.
I logged onto my computer just to check for new e-mails (I was awaiting a couple of replies from my sister-in-law), and that is when I discovered Lisa's update to her blog which she (or more likely someone else) had apparently only just posted. My heart sank. I just looked at the precious photos and cried. All of us who had been following her blog knew that what was to come was only a matter of time, but Baby Patrick Steven took us by surprise and surrendered in his own time. I guess he figured there was no use waiting around until 9-9-09 to get to heaven. I posted a few words of encouragement to the Banks family on the blog and returned to the kitchen to get back to the business of living which is what we must do.
I decided on Stove Top Stuffing and greens to go with the turkey. I made gravy from the drippings and cranberry sauce with frozen whole cranberries (it was a little on the tart side...guess I didn't add enough sugar)! I called Jamie to ask about the greens and she was cooking some, too. We stayed on the phone chatting and cooking for the better part of an hour. Aaron's friend stayed for dinner, which we didn't eat until just after 8:00. I dropped him off at his home a little after nine. Meanwhile Alisa hopped in the tub so she'd be ready for me to read to her upon my return. It was past nine-thirty when I began reading so I didn't read for long. She and Aaron have been asleep for a couple of hours now. Know that I gave them both extra hugs and kisses at bedtime tonight. I'm glad that although they're no longer "little children" they still allow me (even expect me) to love on them at bedtime. How I love those two kids of mine, and I thank God for them. If you never believed it before, I hope you realize that life is a gift!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Free tacos

Needless to say, Aaron was not a happy camper about having to get up and go to band camp from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. today. He actually lucked out because he was supposed to be there yesterday as well, but I forgot, and he was off shopping when I remembered. I got up and fixed blueberry muffins from scratch and put some bacon in the microwave. I dropped him off around 8:40 and felt kind of bad for him; not enough to not make him go, though. He has chosen not to practice that trombone all summer long, so now is his time to get back in the swing of things. I spoke to Mike's brother Jeff who says the part for my a/c is still en route to the dealership, so I'll probably have to drop Mike off to pick up my van sometime after lunch. Meanwhile, there are dishes to do and papers to go through and school supply lists to consolidate and a checkbook to balance and a library book to finish because it is due today and I cannot renew it again, etc...
Around 4:45 Mike (who had just returned with my van) & I left home to pick up Aaron from camp and Alisa from Tia's (Alisa had been summoned to Tia's around 3 p.m. to "babysit" Sasha who was whining that she needed someone to play Barbies with her).
Earlier in the day, Barrett had left multiple messages telling me to check my e-mail for a coupon Lani had forwarded for two free tacos at Jack-in-the-Box. That sounded like an excellent idea for our "Tex Mex Tuesday" dinner theme, so I formulated a plan in my head: I'd pick up the kids after band camp, get the free tacos**, come home and eat, visit Jessie, stop by library on way to Shannon's, drop off kids at Shannon's (I was working the band table at registration on Wednesday morning) & head home for the night. Well, we got a later start than I had intended. It was 6:30 before we left home. Then, it took about 15 minutes to get to Jessie's new place. The house was nice, but Jessie just sat there not really engaging in much conversation. I mean, she would respond if we said something to her, but it was really just kind of quiet and uncomfortable for the kids. Mike even admitted that it is unsettling to see his mother struggling to remember who we are and where she is. He asked her if she wanted to show me her new room, and she said she didn't live there. We just left that alone. I think one of the most difficult things about Alzheimer's disease is that the person still looks like the same person, but it is oh so obvious that they are different on the inside. There is a certain "blankness" or lack of expression about their countenance that is so difficult to comprehend when you're accustomed to seeing them smiling, laughing, and joking around. After about 30-40 minutes we went on to Shannon's. Yet and still, all was going according to plan until Mike suggested we try an alternate route leaving Jessie's to get to Shannon's house. I didn't even think about the time being close to 7:30 and the library closing at 8:00. Furthermore, I do not pretend to know a thing about directions. I have to stop and think long and hard about which way I'm heading and which way I'll be going if I turn left or right. I'm definitely one of the females that comedians love to blast about giving directions by landmarks vs N-S-E-W directions. At any rate, I was totally at Mike's mercy to get me from point A to point B and the library was forgotten. If we had just dropped the kids off (which was my intention), we might still have made it to the library before closing time, but Mike had to go in to use the restroom. I'm lingering by the doorway, not really wanting to venture all the way in. The next thing I know I see the back of Mike's peanut shaped head sticking up over the back of the couch! What was he doing making himself comfortable?! I thought this was a drop off and go deal! Obviously, I was mistaken. Derrick was watching a fight, and Mike wanted to know if the Cowboys' first pre-season game was on tonight. Shannon brought up the pictures of their trek to the Cowboys' stadium on her laptop. Let the slide shows begin...It was 8:33 when Mike & I crawled in the car and I spotted the library book bin full of now overdue books on the back seat. I was hot with Mike, but he took the attitude that I was the one looking at photos and holding up the show. I figure one day I'll use The Blame Game for the title of my blog and explore that a little further! Good night for now. Until next time...
**oh yeah, about those free tacos: we got what we paid for with that deal! I'd never had Jack-in-the-Box tacos before and don't know if I'll ever have them again if the ones we got tonight are the norm. We couldn't tell if they made lots of them in anticipation of people coming in with coupons or if that's just how tacos are coming from a burger joint. Ours were not very good--I might have been upset, except they were free!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Teenager in the house

Happy Birthday, Aaron! I crawled out of bed while everyone else was still sleeping soundly to start clearing dishes and getting yummy stuff chopped up for Aaron's omelette which he had requested for his birthday breakfast. No matter how tight money is, food seems to take a certain level of priority in our household. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. I'm probably sending some wrong message that food is love and my kids will one day hate me for it as they struggle with weight issues as adults. I hope they just remember that I love them (period). And that food is good (period). And that they shouldn't get it twisted! I grated colby-jack cheese and chopped mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, onion, tomato and a few slices of leftover bacon. I even cut up red potatoes and onions to cook "on the side" with a touch or salt, pepper and thyme. That was the difficult part. The omelette part was simple: you just have to keep the heat low and not be in a hurry for it to cook. I made-to-order individual omelettes, so everyone was happy. Alisa even had toast instead of the potatoes.
After breakfast, Mike took off for the dealership with my van to see about getting the a/c repaired--Thank goodness he's off on Mondays! Tia picked up Aaron to take him birthday clothes shopping and dropped Sasha with me and Alisa. Alisa was a real trooper and made every effort to keep Miss P-pasha entertained while I washed dishes & laundry and tried to make heads & tails of my office. It hasn't quite recovered from the "get worse before it gets better" phase much to my chagrin. This goes back to my "everything takes time" blog, but it's getting a little frustrating.
Aaron returned from his shopping spree with a pair of jeans and two polo style shirts that looked big enough for the both of us to fit into. He also had new "ear buds" for his MP3 player, thanks to Tia. Sasha wasn't ready to go home with Tia who was now rushing back to her house to exchange Aaron for Leyla. Derrick was taking the boys to see G.I. Joe. Alisa wanted desperately to go with Tia to "babysit" Leyla. As smart as Sasha is, she realized she wouldn't stand a chance of keeping Alisa's attention with Leyla on the scene, so Alisa and Sasha ended up staying here at our home when Tia and Aaron left. We ran to the store for a few items; then, I resumed my cleaning and baked Aaron's birthday cake -chocolate cake with vanilla whipped cream frosting (as if we didn't have cake leftover along with a sampling of the other desserts from the night before in the fridge!)
Just as I was taking the cakes from the oven, Derrick & the boys and Renee showed up at the same time. They helped eat some of the leftover birthday cake, which I greatly appreciated seeing as how we would have another whole cake to tackle later that evening, then everyone left (except those of us who live here, that is).
Eventually, Mike made his way back home from the dealership and dozed in his blue chair while the kids went for a dip in the pool. They didn't seem to be having much fun and didn't stay out there long, but it was long enough for me to defrost hamburger meat and make homemade hamburgers on the George Foreman with tater tots for dinner. I felt bad that Aaron's birthday wasn't what he'd hoped for, but hopefully we can do something with his friends before school starts in two weeks.
We stayed up way too late! After burgers & tots at 9 p.m. I made Aaron's "cool whip" frosting, but the kitchen was so hot I didn't dare try to frost the cake. I put the frosting in the fridge and the cake in the freezer so it’d be good and cold when I frosted it. I washed up a few dishes (never can manage to get them all done) and the kids & I played monopoly. Aaron won by the skin of his teeth. Alisa had taken a Benadryl earlier because she had taken a bite of the Almond-something granola bar then read that it contained peanut flour. She was almost asleep sitting at the table. By the time we sang Happy Birthday to Aaron it was officially no longer his birthday (as in after midnight). I tried to stay up and blog some, but just couldn't keep my eyes open. It dawned on me I hadn't had a good nap in a couple of days. Good night. Until next time...

A good cry

Well, Sunday was almost done, and I was tapping away on my computer keyboard before I retired for the night. Aaron likes to play “watch dog” as I’m reading e-mails and blogging. He hovers around past his bedtime acting concerned for my health (go to bed, Mom!), but I know he’s usually just stalling for time. Tonight was a little different though. He was reminiscing about past birthday gatherings and who all had come. The three-way celebration at Lorenzo & Lani’s (for PaPa, Aaron & Trey) was nice, but it was a small affair compared to past gatherings at our home where Mike’s family attended as well. The conversation finally got around to where I had a feeling it was going: Grandmother (Mike’s mother, Jessie, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease). We haven’t been to see her since the home where she now resides moved a few weeks ago. Aaron and Alisa thought Grandmother hung the moon when they were younger. This is because until they came along, Grandmother’s youngest grandchild was about to graduate high school. I think Jessie was overjoyed to have babies around again. I think she especially enjoyed getting to be grandmother and not a parent figure. She did so much for Aaron & Alisa, including watching them for me on Saturdays so I could have a day to run errands or take a nap or whatever. She fulfilled the stereotypical “Grandma” role: she’d fix them whatever they asked for or let them decide where they wanted to go out to eat. She would “overpay” them for the simplest of tasks. Birthdays meant a huge gift bag from the dollar store filled with clothes, socks, underwear, etc. Aaron was missing all of that, and before long he grew quiet and the tears began to drip silently from his eyes. I could tell it was more than the toys and clothes that he was missing. It was Grandmother herself. At first we laughed and joked a little when we were sitting in the front room visiting with Jessie and she made a comment about Mike as if he weren’t sitting right there with us in the room. I think now, though, the realization has settled in that Grandmother whom we know and love comes and goes; she remembers and doesn’t remember. We’ve spoken very frankly with the kids about how Alzheimer’s disease progresses, and somehow the day before his 13th birthday I think the understanding “clicked” for Aaron.

I understood how Aaron felt. My heart was breaking for him. I told him of my first significant loss when I was around his same age. My dad's sister, Aunt Demples, who was an alcoholic was wasting away in a hospital in Lawton, Oklahoma. We went to visit, and I remembered thinking she looked older than my great grandmother! Her face was drawn and her belly was bloated. I prayed and I prayed for her to make it through. I guess in the mind of a 14-year-old people really can change. I just knew Aunt Demples would change her ways and stop drinking if she got a second chance. A couple of weeks later we received word that she was doing better; then, the next thing I knew we got the dreaded call that she had died. I was confused and hurt and angry because I didn't understand then how someone could be getting better and then die! I now understand that that is often exactly what happens. I believe God lets us see our loved ones improving so the last impression we have of them is more positive than negative. Then, too, I tend to believe that the reason sick people begin to get better is that they know their suffering is coming to an end. Aaron and I cried together and shared a box of tissues: me and my teenager of a son, no longer a little boy, but not quite a man...