Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Wordle

I was playing around on Wordle, and it lets you compose one of these groupings, based on the words that you use. You can enter your blog address, and it composes one based on the words you use most on your blog. Here's mine:

Wordle: Untitled

Click on it, and it will take you to the original Wordle that I created. It will be much larger and clearer there.

I'll be posting pictures and a life update in the next couple of days. I have my lab final to get through tomorrow, first...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Patch 2009

This place is called 7 Acre Wood in Conroe, TX. It's open year-round, and they were having a fall festival this day. There's mini golf, sand volleyball, a petting, zoo, zip line, playgrounds, and pony rides. There weren't a lot of pumpkins, but my kids weren't all that interested in having their pictures taken that day.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Zoe's 2nd birthday slideshow

So this is only six weeks late. That's about par for the course these days! My birthday was on Thursday, September 24th, and we headed to Lafayette for the weekend to celebrate with my parents. Zoe's was Monday, September 28th, so she and I had a joint cake, and of course, she received lots of gifts from Gammy and Poppa. On Monday, we celebrated at home with McDonald's nuggets for dinner, and gave her the rest of the presents. We decided not to have a party this year; we didn't feel like we had time to plan one, and she didn't miss out on anything.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Has it really been almost a month since I last posted? I keep thinking I need to post, and have ideas for new posts, but just never got around to it. I have lots of pictures to share, too. I'll get there, but probably not until after December 8th. That is the date of my final exam, and then I have five blissful weeks off. I can't wait! I have lots of plans for cleaning, organizing, Christmas decorating and shopping...kind of sounds like my lofty summer goals all over again, doesn't it?

Let's see, what have we been up to over here? I had my second test (another B, yay!) in mid-October, then third test at the end of October. I made Bs on both of them, so my average is doing pretty well. I have my last exam before the final this coming Friday, and of course, I have a crazy week ahead of me. I'll get back to that in a bit.

Weekdays are a blur to me. Monday and Tuesday are lecture days, Wednesday and Thursday are clinicals. The weekends get me through it all. Mom and Dad came in the weekend of October 24th, and it was nice to spend some time with them. We went to a pumpkin patch, bought the kids some fall clothes, Dad and Darren fixed a tree that was leaning on our front porch, and best of all, Mom and Dad babysat the kids so Darren and I could go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. We'll see Mom and Dad again for Thanksgiving; they are coming here again for the holiday. I hate that we don't get to Lafayette anymore, but I can't give up a whole weekend to not study.

Halloween weekend, we had big plans to attend a shopping center event on Friday, then a party that night. Zachary had a fever, so we had to miss those plans and let him rest up for Saturday night and Trick-or-Treating around the neighborhood. Zoe wasn't too impressed until she made the connection that she was getting candy! That she could eat! Then, she was into the whole thing. Later that night, we went over to some friends' house for their neighborhood's annual chili cook-off. It was a lot of fun, and the kids had a great time running around the cul-de-sac.

Last weekend, we took the kids to the Texas Renaissance Festival on Saturday. We hadn't been in three years, but nothing has changed. We were able to make it for four hours with the kids. We rode some rides, ate some food, and walked around. It would be nice to go back without them, so we could actually sit and watch some of the shows or just people-watch. Zoe did enjoy wearing her pink tutu all day, and we bought her some fairy wings. She walked around, watching her shadow on the ground. It was really cute!

This weekend, Zach has a birthday party tomorrow evening, but no other plans. I'm going to use the time to try to get caught up on laundry and schoolwork. I've been fighting a sinus infection all week, so haven't felt like doing a whole lot.

I can't believe the semester is almost over! This is my last week of lecture, we have skills check-off in lab, and it's our last week of clinical. After our test on Friday, I'm not sure what we are doing the next few weeks until our final. I know there's a lab final in there somewhere, and a review session, but I don't think I will have to go to campus much. That's fine with me!

I just want to survive this week. This unit that we are being lectured on has tons of readings and objective questions to answer, then it will be included on Friday's test. Also this week, we are having a potluck luncheon in clinical on Wednesday, so I will have to cook food for that. Thursday night is our Cub Scout pack's annual cake auction, so there will have to be a cake baked and decorated for that. Friday is Zoe's class Thanksgiving celebration, and I have to take a dessert. They will be lucky if they get homemade cookies, but more than likely, there will be store-bought cookies purchased for the occasion. I can't wait until next weekend already!

I'll try to post again tomorrow with some pictures. Also, I am going to be doing a product review soon for Southern Recipe pork rinds, so stay posted for that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


If you're not a nursing student, you will probably be bored silly by this post. Don't say I didn't warn you...

I do feel like it is an honor and a privilege most days that I was able to get into the nursing program, because there are a lot of people who did not get in. Since it is so hard to get into the program, you would think the instructors would be top-notch, and for the most part, they are. I absolutely love my clinical instructor, who is also the team leader. She challenges me and always makes me think about why I choose to do something or what would cause a patient to have a certain diagnosis. I think I am a better student because of her.

The way our program works, we have units divided into two-week blocks, and we generally have a test after every two units. Each instructor takes a unit to prepare objectives, Powerpoint slides, and other resources that are posted on our class website, and that same instructor gives the lecture for that unit. We generally have a quiz every Monday on the material that we will be covering that week. That does seem odd to me, to quiz us before we cover that material. All of the instructors also take turns going to lab with us, and each one seems to have her specialty. Most of them have their MSN, and a few are Nurse Practitioners. They do not have teaching backgrounds, and some are better at lecturing than others.

I prefer an instructor whose lecture style makes me think, and who is able to give related information to the topic we are discussing from her past experience. I cannot stand going to class and having a Powerpoint read to me. I will not pay attention, and get very frustrated. I would much prefer reading it on my own, and having additional information given to me during lecture. I also prefer the instructors (just about all of them) who give us a break every hour. There is only so long that I can pay attention, and I need to get up and walk around every so often. The chairs are not the most comfortable in the room where lecture is held.

The instructor who we have had for the last two weeks is one whose strength is not in lecturing. She has a gravelly voice, speaks really slowly, mispronounces half the words, and gets offended when we don't know what she is talking about. In my opinion, she should not be allowed to lecture. You can tell that most people share my opinion; the students start nodding off, because there is no need to pay attention. Everything she is saying is right there on the Powerpoint (and last week she gave us her notes on the bottom of the slides, so we really had everything that she said), and her voice just lulls you to sleep. The students who are not nodding off are getting noticeably agitated, and fidgeting in their seats. I believe that I could stand in front of the class and present the material in a better way, even though I have no nursing background. I could at least pronounce all of the words and not use the same monotone voice the whole time. I would also show up early, make sure I had all of the materials that I need, and have the computer ready to go. Punctuality is a big deal with most of our instructors, but this one generally takes 30 minutes to get everything set up and ready to go, and always has some sort of technical issue that one of the other instructors has to go and help her with.

I learned that I will go crazy if I listen to this woman, so I make sure to take some other work to class with me to do. If I'm not going to listen, I may as well spend my time doing something that is productive, right? The sad thing is that I really didn't learn anything from her lecture, and did poorly on the quiz that she gave us today. I left today feeling so angry and frustrated, because I really feel that our time was wasted the past two weeks, and someone else should have done the job.

Thank God my clinical instructor will be lecturing for the next two weeks. She is extremely knowledgeable, and has an interesting voice when she talks. She also will show up early, be prepared, and will make sure to keep our attention. I'm not sure the one who lectured today even cared if she had our attention. We did have some bogus group project for about ten minutes, but that was all the student interaction that we had today.

The best part about today's lecture was the fact that the instructor ran way over time, and two other instructors were standing in the back of the room, waving their arms for her attention. Once she realized what they were doing, she acknowledged that she was running over time, but her way of wrapping up her lecture was to continue to read the slides to us, but ever so slightly faster. Yesterday, the other professors started interrupting her at the end to make announcements, and she would ask if we had any questions about her lecture in between their announcements. Get a clue, lady!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A week in the life of a nursing student

I'm still here, just unbelievably busy with school. I was mistaken in thinking that it wasn't all that difficult, and that I didn't have to give up most of my time to study. Then, we started clinicals. I love being with the patients so much more than sitting in lecture, but the paperwork is out of control. I spend 12-15 hours each week looking up each patient's diagnoses, looking up their medications, deciding on the proper nursing interventions, then typing up my care plan. Those are due on Wednesday, and inevitably, it's Tuesday night, and I am wondering why I've waited so long to get the work done. I can't do schoolwork between about 3:45, when Zach gets home, until after dinner, usually around 7:00. I have to help Zach with homework, cook dinner, and spend some time with Zoe during that time.

Here's what a week of nursing school looks like for me (not that you asked):

I have lecture and lab on Mondays, (lecture from 8-10:30 or 11:00, lab from 1:00-2:30) and there are always objective questions and readings for lecture. Sometime we get the information far in advance, and one time, we got it the night before. We always have a quiz on Monday, so it is important to complete the work early enough to be able to go over it at least once. I have a two hour break between lecture and lab on Monday, so that is usually when I go to the computer lab, watch whatever video we need to watch, then do the reading for lab. Lecture on Tuesday is a continuation of Monday, and there's no quiz on Tuesday, so Monday night would be a good night to work on my care plan. Unfortunately, I usually stay up way too late on Sunday, so Monday night I crash.

Tuesday nights we have Cub Scouts. Darren usually takes Zach to the meetings, and I cook dinner, clean the kitchen afterward, and bathe and put Zoe to bed. I usually have about 15 minutes of silence before the boys get home, then get to work on my care plan that I shouldn't have put off.

Wednesday and Thursday, I have clinical from 6:30-1:30. Our care plan is due on Wednesday, and we have a math quiz. I generally pass out those afternoons around 5:00, because I just can't stay awake any longer. Wednesday night, I try to start my care plan from that day, and look up any drugs or diagnoses that my patient from that week has. Thursday night is our TV night, with Survivor, The Office, Grey's Anatomy, and Private Practice.

We are off most Fridays, unless we have a test, and I drop Zoe off, go and get my allergy shots, then come home to do schoolwork, run errands, or clean. I never get enough done on Fridays. I will end up watching the recorded TV that I didn't get to watch that week, making phone calls, or playing on Facebook.

On the weekends, we clean the house, do laundry, go grocery shopping, and I try to spend some time with the family. I usually take Saturday off schoolwork, and study on Sunday. I've had to give up any social life that I had, and don't have time for phone calls anymore. I sure am looking forward to semester break! We have Thanksgiving and the day afterward off, but no holidays until then. Zach has Columbus Day off tomorrow, but I have school, unfortunately.

I just have to keep telling myself that the time taken away from family, dinners out that we can't eat, phone calls, TV shows, and debt will all be worth it in the end...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Zach and Hans

Zach and Hans have gotten to be big buddies this summer. This photo was taken at Hans' 6th birthday party in July. We've lived across the street from them since Hans was five months old. Hans has been battling cancer for three years, and is healthy enough right now that he was able to start kindergarten. He and Zach are at the same school, and Zach has been his buddy in the mornings. Zach goes over to his house and makes sure he's ready for school, gets him motivated, rides with him to school, and walks him to his classroom. Both boys share a love of playing Wii and DS, and generally get along well.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pigtailed Cutie

I can't believe how long her hair has gotten, and the fact that she stayed still for me to do this to her! Lately, she checks out her reflection in the dishwasher, and has started pushing her hair out of her face. I'm afraid she's going to be a girly-girl, and if you know me, you know that I am not like that at all.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Zachary's 8th birthday/first day of school

Zachary turned 8 on August 23rd. My parents came in for the weekend to celebrate with us, and we went out for Japanese the night before. The kids had a great time, and Zoe kept saying, "Wow!" whenever the fire would get high on the hibachi grill. We gave Zach a new bike for his birthday, which he thought was totally cool.

Sunday, which was Zach's actual birthday, we woke up, ate breakfast, and he opened presents. He received the Karate Kid DVDs, a watch, Wii Sports Resort, and a couple of DS games. We left for Minute Maid Park around 10:30, and met some friends there to watch the Astros play the Diamondbacks. Our seats were three rows from the top of the stadium, and it was a boring game, but the boys were all very good.

After the game, we walked to Discovery Green Park for the boys to splash in the kids' area there, and to eat cupcakes. We had a great time, and all headed home to prepare for the first day of school the next day.

August 24th was not only Zach's first day of third grade; it was my first official day of nursing school, and Zoe's first day back at daycare since June. We all survived, and everything is going well so far. Zach loves school for the first time, Zoe seems to be adjusting to being away from Mommy, and I am handling the work better than I thought I would. I can't believe it's September already!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Fourth of July Slideshow

Long-overdue pictures

I realized today that I have not uploaded pictures from any of our three cameras in over two months. That's a lot to put on iPhoto, tag, and remove the red-eye! In between accomplishing my massive amounts of schoolwork, I plan to post pictures here, on Flickr, and on Facebook in the next few days, if you're interested in that sort of thing. I guess I need to start with my family's visit from the Fourth of July...

Looking at My To-Do List from June

I was looking at this post, and am sad to report that not one of those things was accomplished this summer. Where did the time go? It's just about impossible to accomplish anything while Zoe is awake right now, because she either wants to be held, or wants to "help" by taking things out of my hands and running away with them. She is obsessed with getting her hands on the broom, going outside if a door is opened, taking the silverware out of my china cabinet, getting in the office and finding a writing instrument to scribble on the nearest paper, or emptying Darren's or my wallet. She's lucky she's so cute!

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm still here...

I'm just trying to get my life and house organized before school hits hard for everyone in our house next Monday. I do have lots of ideas for posts, and lots of pictures to post. My procrastination may lead to lots of posts in the coming months, or it could still be quiet around here. It's too soon to tell. Don't give up on me yet!

My goal as of now is to treat nursing school like a full-time job. I am going to try to get all of my schoolwork done between 8-5 so that evenings can be dedicated to the family. We won't know our final class schedule until the first day of school, and won't follow it until after about three weeks of school, so some things are still up in the air. Zach has after-school care taken care of for now, but if it will be possible to cut out that expense, we will try.

Zoe will probably spend much more time at her day care than she did last year, since she has become Destructo Girl in the last few weeks. Every day she discovers something new to get into. Today, it was my silverware in my china cabinet. She amused herself for a very long time by bringing me one spoon at a time. Every few minutes, I would take the spoons back to the drawer, tell her no, and slam it. That didn't deter her. She also found Darren's wallet in the desk that we use as an entry table and catch-all, and proceeded to rearrange its contents. Like I've said before, she's lucky she's so cute!

I am trying to get back into a more normal sleep schedule, and have cut out caffeine in the evenings. Tonight, it seems to be working, as I am getting very tired. More later...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Update

Has it really been a month since I last posted? I can't say it's because I've been off doing exciting things. Summer has been kind of quiet around here, which is fine with me.

We went to Lafayette the weekend of June 26th to help my parents move into their new office. We were glad to help, and enjoyed getting to eat at Johnson's Boucaniere twice, having a delicious snowball at Cajun Sno, and getting pizza and muffalettos from Deano's. Darren and I were able to have a child-free night to go out to eat and then to a daiquiri bar with his sister. (Yes, the bar did have a drive-thru, but we didn't utilize that). I often wonder if we would appreciate our culture and heritage (and the food) as much if we still lived in Louisiana? I love visiting, and our visits never seem long enough, but what would it be like to live there again? The houses are more expensive, jobs are scarcer, and we'd have to send our kids to private school. I guess we do have it good in Texas, but there's just not the history here that we have at home, most people here are not from here, and most of the locally-owned businesses can't afford to compete with the franchises, so there's not as much variety. It'll do for now, but I know we won't stay here forever.

After our weekend in Lafayette, Zachary stayed with my parents while the rest of us came home. I enjoyed a girls' night out with several neighbors and friends. We went to see The Proposal, then walked over to a local pub, where we stayed until 1:30, laughing and talking. That was a lot of fun!

My sister and adorable nephew flew in that Thursday for a week, and we immediately took them to eat barbecue at Rudy's. Zoe and Carter got along surprisingly well, but the two of them together sure could make a mess! Mom, Dad, and Zach came in Friday, and we abandoned our plans to go to the patriotic concert at the Pavilion in favor of hitting the pool. It was just too hot to be outside and not in water, plus the little kids would have probably run all over the place and driven us crazy. For the Fourth, we overslept, but Darren and Zach managed to meet Mom and Dad at the parade at Market Street, where Zach and other Scouts participated in a military tribute. We barbecued some ribs and other delicious things for lunch, then went to the pool again. That night, we watched The Woodlands' fireworks show from the mall parking lot, along with half of Houston, it seemed. Mom and Dad went home on Sunday, and Zach started art camp at the local community college that Monday. Natalie and I enjoyed spending time together, visiting all the local scrapbooking stores, and even doing some scrapbooking. It was nice to have time to hang out together, and I was sorry to see her and Carter go. It was nice to have someone here during the day to keep me entertained, and hang out with the kids.

I completed my Healthcare Provider CPR certification on the 11th, and we had two birthday parties in the next two days. We didn't do much the next week, except for Zach's camp. He had a great time; he took three classes that were all art-related, and two of them were taught by a man who I worked with for five years. Since the art program at his school is seriously lacking, I was so glad that he had the opportunity to be exposed to different media, and was given some instruction in basic drawing skills.

This past weekend, I went shopping at the mall with one of my friends and former co-workers, and we ran into several people we know. We even had lunch with another former co-worker, and it was really nice to get to catch up with them. Since I don't leave the house much these days, I rarely see anyone I know. My friend dropped me off at home, and I had two hours to get dressed and ready to go see New Kids on the Block in concert at the Pavilion. We went to dinner first, and it poured while we were at the restaurant. The Pavilion is an outdoor venue, so we were concerned about getting wet. It stopped raining in plenty of time for the concert, and Darren brought us a tarp and beach towels to sit on. It was a great show, and my fourth time seeing them.

This week is my last week of freedom before my first nursing class starts next Monday. I've registered for classes for the summer and fall, bought textbooks, and registered the kids for the campus YMCA program. I've been trying to read and relax as much as I can before I have to go back to the frantic pace of studying and keeping everything else afloat at the same time. My summer class is three weeks long, and Zachary will spend the first week driving through Tennessee with my parents. We'll go to Lafayette the weekend of the 1st to get him, and celebrate my parents' cat's 20th birthday. The weekend of the 7th, I'm going on a scrapbooking retreat, and I figure I can use the weekend to study and rest if I need to, instead of scrapbooking. I have one week off before the fall semester starts, but during that week, I have orientation on campus for three nights, then Zach's meet the teacher at his school. Zach's birthday is the 23rd, and we are planning to take some kids to the Astros game that day, then school starts for him and me on the 24th, and Zoe goes back to daycare that day. I think my parents are going to be here to help us with getting everyone where they need to be that day, which will be really nice.

I don't expect to have a whole lot of time to post in the near future, but please bear with me. I still have lots of pictures to put on here, and I do tend to post to Twitter several times a day. Also, Facebook is a major addiction of mine these days, since it's so easy to press that little icon on my phone and see what everyone is up to.

See you soon!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Our day started off in an interesting way; I couldn't find Zoe. At some point last night, she started crying, so I had to go and get her. This seems to be the norm these days. She rolls around in our bed, and we don't get a whole lot of sleep. Anyway, I woke up, and realized that Zoe was no longer in our bed. Her pacifier was still there, and I wondered if Darren had put her back in her room, or if she had rolled off the bed and was sleeping on the floor. I looked around, and realized that she was not in our room. The gate to downstairs was open, and I wondered if she had gone down there.

First, I decided to check Zachary's room. Zoe loves to go in there, much to his dismay. Zach was still asleep in his bed, which was a surprise. He's usually an early riser. There was a little girl, sitting on the floor in his room, coloring. She is obsessed with coloring and writing on things, and it appears that she found a yellow highlighter. I didn't look around too much to see what she had decorated; she does have highlighter all over her arms and legs, as well as her pajamas.

Zoe seemed happy to see me. When I asked her to come to me, she got up, left her art supplies, and allowed me to pick her up. What a little stinker!

I don't know what we are doing today. I am going to cook a pork roast in the crock pot for dinner, but besides that, we don't have any plans. We had talked about going to Galveston to visit Darren's dad and go to the beach, but with Zachary's injuries, we're not sure the water would feel good for him. We'll probably just hang out here and relax, which is fine.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Attempting to get a photo together

DSC_2134, originally uploaded by alanaransley.

I was trying to get some shots of the kids together, but Zoe decided that she didn't want to do that today. We started on the swing, but as Zoe moved around the driveway and front yard, I instructed Zach to follow her around and smile, in case she would happen to stop and pose for me. It didn't happen!

Monday, June 15, 2009

To Do List

We made a lot of progress yesterday in cleaning and putting away the mountain of clean clothes, but there are so many little projects that would make my life easier that I need to tackle this summer. The only problem is the only time that I have to do these things is my two-hour window during Zoe's nap each afternoon.

I put her down, zoom around the house straightening anything that was taken out that morning, then try to get as much done as I can while she sleeps. Once she goes to bed at night, I have to straighten everything that she got into since naptime. It's hard to get very far ahead of her. I can't load the dishwasher when she is awake, because she will either try to close it, take things out, or play with the silverware. I also can't do laundry, because she will try to slam the dryer door, or take clothes out of there. I sure hope this stage ends soon!

Projects that I want/need to tackle:

  • Cleaning out my bathroom cabinet
  • Cleaning out the linen closet
  • Cleaning out the office, which includes organizing the CDs, my schoolbooks and notes from this past year, and my unused scrapbooking supplies
  • Get caught up on putting pictures on my computer/Flickr/Facebook/this blog
  • Finally opening the USB record player that I bought a while back, and putting my records on iTunes
  • Taking pictures of and selling the baby stuff that is currently in residence in my dining room
  • Packing up Zoe and Zach's clothes that they have outgrown. No idea what to do with it after that.
  • Cleaning out the garage and finally parting with lots of my teacher stuff
  • Going through all the kids' school papers from the past year and paring down what we are keeping
I think that's a good start. Maybe since I posted it on here, I'll actually get it done. However, this is the fifth summer that I've had this blog, and I have yet to make it through an entire list. We'll see...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Picture Post

Zach at his school's Author's Tea. The kids from his class each presented stories they had written in class to their parents. It was really cute! There were round tables where the students sat, and at each place, there was a biography and photograph of the author. After the presentation, the parents were encouraged to collect autographs of all the budding writers. Refreshments were served, as well.

I worked in Zachary's classroom for several weeks to type the stories of the kids and print them. The kids would choose a color for the cover, draw a picture to illustrate the story, then I would bind them by using a machine they had in the library. All of the stories had to be "page turners", so I had to use a really large font for some of the students so their writing would stretch for more than one page. The kids loved to see what they had written in a notebook turn into something that looked relatively professional, and could be shared.

My little diva! I decided to set up a sprinkler in the front yard for the kids, but Zoe was not very interested in getting wet. She found this little chair in the garage, and wanted to sit there and watch Zachary play in the sprinkler. I am determined to turn her into a water lover, though; it's too hot here in Texas to not swim!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Summer's Here!

The last week of school flew by for us this year. We started it off with a Cub Scout swim party, and Zach made friends with some boys in the neighborhood to play with in the afternoons.

I worked as hard as I could to get the house clean while Zach was at school and Zoe was at daycare during the day. It was nice to have that freedom, but with that freedom came the knowledge that it was short-lived. I had nursing school orientation last Wednesday, and that was scary, but enlightening. The next two years are going to be really hectic for me, but hopefully worth it.

Back to Zachary...I went to school and passed out popsicles to all of the second-graders on Tuesday. We had way too many left over from the Cub Scout party, and they were taking up precious freezer space. I was glad to get to do that for the kids. Thursday morning, I went to Vogel to visit my friends there, and found that I don't miss it nearly as much as I thought I would. It was kind of strange to know that a whole class of students has come through there, and I don't know any of them. I did get to see a few former students from last year, and enjoyed that.

Thursday afternoon, I went to Zach's school to help with his class ice cream social. The kids enjoyed the treat, then went across the hall to another teacher's classroom to watch a movie. I took Zach home a few minutes early, and he hated to go. He was glad the year was over, but sad to be moving on to a new teacher next year. It's so hard to accept change, especially for Zach. What's nice is that we have a neighborhood school, so everyone lives in close proximity to one another. It's not like where I grew up, everyone lived all over the city, and didn't see each other outside of school. Most of Zach's friends belong to the local pools, so we'll see them around this summer.

Friday was Zoe's last day of daycare until August. I am sure she will miss the routine of school, but will enjoy being home with me. I will enjoy saving money this summer! I think I will put her in the campus daycare when I take my summer class, since I only have to pay for the hours that I am in class. That will be a big savings for us, plus I will have her with me on the drive to and from campus.

Friday evening, we went to the newest local pool to swim. It's so nice; it has a lazy river, pool with a zero-entry and play structure, and a big water slide. It's great for the whole family, but is really busy during the day. We like to go in the evenings, since we burn so badly, and it's much less crowded then. One of Zach's friends came to meet us at the pool, and he and his mom ended up coming over for dinner and Guitar Hero (and possibly margaritas) afterward. Zach spent the night at his house, then played with friends the rest of the day. Sunday, Zach left to play with friends that morning, and ended up spending the night with them. He didn't come home until after they went to the pool yesterday afternoon, and played with them again yesterday evening and today. He's having a great time, and enjoying his new freedom of riding his bike down the street. I hope the boys continue getting along; it's so nice to not having him mope around the house because there's nothing to do.

We don't have any big plans for the next couple of weeks. I went for my first allergy shots today; I'll be getting three at a time, every four to seven days, for the next three to five years. Friday, I have my physical, bloodwork, and immunizations for nursing school, and we have a pool party Saturday. We'll probably head to Lafayette for the weekend on the 26th to help my parents move into their new office, and my sister and nephew are coming to spend a week with us for July 4th. I love not having something to do every single day!

I am trying to hard to keep up with the housework, but this is my first experience with two kids to clean up after. I can't let a whole day go by without cleaning something, because I have to stay ahead of the kids and the messes they make. There are certain things that I can only do while Zoe naps, so I try to utilize that two-hour window each day as much as I can. I just want to get far enough ahead of the kids that I can get out my scrapbooking stuff without feeling guilty. I don't know if and when that will happen, though.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

20 months!

I can't believe my Zoe is already 20 months old! She's such a little girl now, and no longer a baby. She is running everywhere, climbing on tables, and trying with all her might to get the telephone any time it's within reach. She enjoys having her hair put up in ponytails, and always has something to carry around with her. It can be a sippycup, toothbrush, stuffed animal, or remote control. She wants to be outside all the time, as well. We have to be so careful when we open a door to outside, because she will zoom out before you realize she's gone.

Zoe also loves to watch TV, dig in any open cabinet or drawer that she finds, help me load or unload the dryer, and color. She will find any pen, pencil or crayon that is left out, then draw on any piece of paper that she comes across. I guess it's good that she doesn't know that writing instruments work on walls, as well. She also loves the dog, and thinks that he is hilarious. She is a happy girl most of the time, and is always singing or babbling.

If you get her mad, though, watch out! She has a really bad temper, and will throw herself down on the floor and scream. She will also throw her plate of food off the table once she's done, or if she doesn't like what she's been fed. No longer do we have the child who eats everything; she's gotten really picky lately. Her favorite foods right now are Cheetos, M&Ms, ice cream, or any other sweets. If I am eating something that she likes, she comes up to me, spits out her pacifier, and opens her mouth. It's really sweet!

Zoe also loves to admire her reflection in the front of my dishwasher. She will stand in front and rub her hair, then lift up her shirt and admire her belly. It's too cute! She will do this repeatedly for a few minutes, like she can't believe that the little girl she is seeing is really her.

She no longer wants to sit in a high chair, and will not eat if placed in one. She is a "big girl", and big girls sit in chairs like the rest of the family. She will allow us to place her in a booster seat at the table, though she's prefer to eat standing on a chair. She is still willing to ride in her car seat and stroller, which is a good thing!

I am really looking forward to spending the summer with Zach and Zoe. She will go to daycare through the end of next week, while I try to get all the projects done around the house that need to be taken care of. She loves going to school, and will probably miss it, but we are trying to save money this summer. We'll buy pool passes, and I have a feeling the kids and I will be swimming almost every day. Zoe loves the water, so that shouldn't be a problem. She doesn't tolerate heat well, so I guess our swimming will be limited to the evenings.

As soon as I get the newest pictures off our camera, I'll post them to Flickr. I'm off to get my first haircut since Labor Day, and am planning on chopping off a few inches. That means less hair to dry, straighten, and for Zoe to pull. Can't wait!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where Did May Go?

Wow, it's hard to believe we are already over halfway through May! It's flying by for me, which is not necessarily a good thing.

I survived finals, and ended up with an A in pharmacology and B in microbiology. I'm glad to put those classes behind me, but wish I had learned more in pharmacology. It's not that I didn't try, but rather that our professor did not motivate us to learn. I am sure that will come back to haunt me sometime later in my nursing career.

Finals week did have some extra excitement for us. We got an automated phone call and email from Zachary's school the afternoon of the 3rd to let us know that his school was closed, due to three suspected cases of swine flu. My boss didn't want me going in to work on Monday, because I had volunteered at the school the previous Friday afternoon. After two days at home, Zachary was bored, but starting to think of things to do. We got a phone call Tuesday afternoon to let us know that school was reopening the next day, and a really disappointed little boy went off to school on Wednesday. We ended up being the only school in the district that ended up closing, and there was never any more information about the suspected cases.

I am excited about nursing school, but nervous about all that I have to do this summer in preparation. I have orientation June 3rd, so I will get some more concrete details then. What I know so far is that I have to get several vaccinations, a physical, and bloodwork, take a drug test, be fingerprinted, and take CPR for healthcare providers. According to my friends who have already had their orientation, we have to get one of our textbooks this summer and read it before the fall classes start. I also have to buy the uniform scrubs, a stethoscope, and white nursing shoes. There are so many expenses already, and I am only working for two more weeks. Ouch!

Speaking of work, I am sad that the school year is ending for me this week in preschool. I really did enjoy it, and will miss the kids next year. I could have done a much better job next year, since I now know what to expect. I guess it's something to fall back on if nursing doesn't work out for me. I would like to find something to do this summer, but whatever I would do, I would end up having to pay for childcare for the kids, so that is that much extra that I would have to make. It's so frustrating! I wish I could find something that I could do at home to make some extra money.

I am planning to apply at the local hospital after I complete the fall semester of school. There is a PSN, or Professional Student Nurse position. It's a good way to get my foot in the door and meet people at the hospital in advance of graduation. It will be interesting to see how I will juggle the time to work.

I had a really nice Mothers' Day. We slept late, then Darren cooked breakfast. After Zoe napped, we went to the Mercer Arboretum and walked around there for a while. It was hot, and Zoe can't take the heat, so we didn't stay much longer than an hour. Afterward, we went to Dairy Queen for some ice cream. Darren cooked steak for dinner, and we watched the finale of the Amazing Race. It was a really nice day!

This past week was kind of a wash, because Zoe was sick. She was not feeling well going into the weekend, but there were no definite symptoms. Monday, she went to school and I went to work. She came home and took a second nap, because she was so cranky. Tuesday, she woke up cranky, and I kept her home and took her to the doctor. The diagnosis was a cold. Wednesday, I got a call from daycare just as I was leaving work that Zoe had a fever of 102.5. She cried most of the night, and we went back to the doctor Thursday, where the diagnosis changed to a sinus infection, and we were given antibiotics. That night, the fever continued, she didn't sleep again, and was up at 5:00. Friday, she didn't nap except for two 20-minute periods where she laid on me and snored. Around 10:30, I noticed blood around her mouth, but couldn't see anything suspicious. Off to the doctor we went again, and they noticed a scratch on one of her tonsils. She already wasn't eating, so that made the situation worse. Yesterday, we could tell that Zoe felt a little better, and she took a nap. This morning, she slept until 10:30 after sleeping through the night, then took a two-hour nap. Let's hope she's on the mend, especially since I have managed to stay up so late!

It's always so nice to have the whole summer stretching out in front of me. I hope to be more organized with our time this summer, and not sit around the house watching TV. We are going to buy pool passes, and Zach is going to an art camp at the college for two weeks. I am considering Kindermusik for Zoe, and I have lots of projects that I want to do around the house. The more I get organized, the easier our lives will be in the fall. I just want to get to a point where the house is clean enough that I don't feel guilty getting out my scrapbook stuff, or some other fun thing.

That's enough rambling for one night. Off to bed...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Nearing the Finish Line

This is going to be a quick post to say that the end is in sight with my semester of school. I have my microbiology final Tuesday morning, and my pharmacology take-home final to turn in by Thursday. I may or may not go back and retake some of the quizzes in pharmacology to improve my grade; it all depends on what happens this week.

I bought some new photo software, so I should be able to get back on track with posting pictures. I can't wait!

We had a great time in Lafayette at Festival Internationale, and celebrating Darren's 40th. I think he had a great time, and we enjoyed spending some time with old friends.

Zachary's school is shut down for the next week. It's the only one in Conroe ISD so far, with 3 probable cases of the H1N1 virus. Since I worked at the school Friday afternoon, my boss is not letting me work this week. Great, a week without pay! I have to meet someone in the parking lot tomorrow morning with my lesson plans.

That's about it. More exciting news once I finish school. What will I do with Zach at home all week? Darren will be working at home until Friday, and I sure hope Zoe can go to day care--it's paid for already!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Two More Weeks!

I can't believe there are only two more weeks in this semester. It can't come fast enough for me! I have a final for both my classes, plus a lab practical left to take. I have been in school almost non-stop since June 2nd of last year, so I am really looking forward to this break. I start my nursing summer course July 27th, which means almost three months of not having to study.

As usual, I have big plans for the summer. We'll buy pool passes for the community pools, Zach is doing a two-week art camp at the community college, and I hope to get to spend some time in Louisiana. Besides that, I plan to read as much as possible, and finally get my house clean. That hasn't happened in a while, and there are lots of things that need to be donated or thrown away. Just looking under my bathroom sink makes me cringe. I keep thinking if I get it clean, then it will be easier to maintain.

I'm also looking forward to just being a mom for the summer, and hanging out with the kids. No place that we have to go every day, and maybe just spending time together at home. Of course, I'll be going nuts by the end of June, but I won't be working this summer, so the goal will be to spend as little money as possible. For me, that means not leaving the house. I'm glad we've got so much stuff to keep us entertained.

On a completely different note, Zoe started walking on Sunday. We were all in the den watching TV, and she decided that she wanted my cereal bowl. She had been taking a few steps here and there, but on Sunday, she just stood up and walked. She'd go about ten steps, then fall down, and get right back up. It was really cute! She walked a circle around the downstairs for over an hour, then took a great nap. I videotaped her, but the memory on my laptop is too full for me to upload the video. My desktop computer has been at the Apple store since Sunday, but when I get it back, I'm going to install the new version of iLife on it, so I can upload my videos.

Anyway, since Sunday, Zoe has been walking like crazy, and it is so cute! She holds her arms up, and still wobbles from side to side. She has great scrapes on her knees from falling down, but she gets back up every time. She waited so long to walk that she doesn't need to pull up on things to get up. I am sure she'll be running soon, and I will not want her walking, but it will be nice to not have to hold her all the time.

Zach gave himself a haircut Sunday, which was strange. We noticed that his bangs were missing a section in the middle, and he acted like he had no idea that he had cut his hair. He said he was waving scissors around. When Darren went upstairs to investigate, the missing section of hair was in a clear plastic box, and Zach said that he was collecting his DNA. Not sure what he plans to do with that, though.

We're heading to Lafayette this weekend for Festival International, and Darren and I can't wait! Zach's not too thrilled, because he was invited to four parties this weekend that he has to miss. We haven't gotten a party invitation in a while, and they've all come at the same time. Hopefully there will be others soon. We're not missing Festival this year. We have plans to spend the day out there on Saturday, and then attend the Nitecaps reunion Saturday night. Nitecaps is a bar that we used to hang out in during college (and I went there twice when I was still in high school and underage). We won't have kids for the night, and Darren turns 40 at midnight. Hopefully the hangover on Sunday won't be too bad, since we'll have to drive back to Houston!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Check out my Flickr photos!

If you look at the little box on the right side, I posted a bunch of pictures from our bluebonnet photo shoot to Flickr.

I Got In!

It's 1:00 in the morning and I should be sleeping, but I wanted to post this.

We came to Louisiana yesterday to spend Easter with my family, but I suspected nursing school notification letters would come in the mail. I left the mailbox key with my neighbor, with the instruction to call me if we got a letter from the college, and we did! I didn't get into my first choice school, but I am okay with it. It's not my last choice, either, and the commute will be fairly long, but it's manageable.

I have orientation in June, immunizations, a physical, and CPR certification to get, summer school for three weeks beginning in July, then school starts August 24th. What have I gotten myself into?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Losing motivation

With less than a month left in the semester, I am having a very hard time staying focused on schoolwork. There is always something else to do, whether it is play with the kids, cook, or clean up the house. I hope that I don't have to take a class this summer; I need a break to go back to being a wife and mother. I want to have time to watch TV or read a book without feeling guilty, or go to the pool with the kids.

It appears that my fate will be revealed sometime in the next week. Letters for nursing school acceptance were supposed to arrive by the 10th, but there's been a delay with getting the letters from central office to the different campuses in the college system. I am just so ready to know either way, so I can decide whether I am going to return to public school next year, teach at my preschool, or just stay home and keep Zoe home. I am such a planner and control freak; this is driving me crazy!

On another note, we had a wonderful time on the Cub Scout camping trip this past weekend. Zach did not win in the Pinewood Derby, and he wasn't too disappointed. We hadn't done anything to his car since our pack's race in January, so he probably would have done better with a little graphite. We had beautiful weather for the weekend, great food and conversation, and I got to sleep in a tent all by myself. Even though I was only in there for six hours, it was so nice to listen to the quiet and just relax. Of course, I came home with a sinus infection from the campfire smoke, but I think the stress that I am already under just enhanced that.

I have a pharmacology test that I have to take for my online class tomorrow, and I don't feel ready in any way to take it. We are leaving to go to Louisiana for the weekend on Friday, and the house is a mess, and there are no clean clothes. Darren will be gone tomorrow evening, so it's up to me to get things in gear and get us ready to go out of town. I sure hope I feel better tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Here's what's going on in my life: I am constantly tired, never studying enough, and never feel like I get ahead on housework and laundry. It's time for the semester to be over! We're going to receive notification of nursing school acceptance sometime between now and April 10th. I can't wait to finally know what's in my future. I applied to four community college locations in the area, plus one local university for a BSN. I'd prefer that one, and it wouldn't be that much more time, but the tuition and driving would be bad. I could do a lot of my classes at the local college, but would end up driving into the Houston medical center for clinicals.

Plan B, if I don't get accepted anywhere, is to teach preschool four days a week next year, take Zoe with me, pay for a month of preschool what I am paying for a week of daycare this year, and retake A&P I for an A. I'd reapply next year, and maybe take some other classes toward the BSN. I do plan to go on and get my Master's, so it would make sense to take as many classes as I can at the lower tuition price of the local college.

There have been rumors that summer school has been canceled, or classes have been reduced for this summer. Fine by me! If I get into the nursing program, there's a two-week class that I am supposed to take this summer. That would mean paying for childcare for both kids, and since I won't be working this summer, ouch! I would love to take the summer off and hang out at the local pools with the kids. I think Zach is going to do some art classes at the community college, a week of Cub Scout daycamp, and possibly a VBS session or two (we do various religions each summer). I would love to do Kindermusik with Zoe, as well. All will be decided in the next week or so.

April is always a crazy month for us, and I feel like I scramble to stay afloat. This weekend is our Cub Scout camping trip, and Mom and Dad are coming in to babysit Zoe so I can spend the night Saturday night. I'm looking forward to it. Next weekend is Easter, and we are heading to Mom and Dad's for the weekend. My sister will be there with her family, and we have plans with our oldest friends and their kids. I hope that Zoe and Carter cooperate with each other! We'll be celebrating his first birthday (where did the year go?), too. Carter is walking, but Zoe still is not. She takes a few steps here and there, but would rather crawl or walk behind one of her toys. She's fast, and can get into things like you wouldn't believe. Everyone keeps telling me that I should be glad that she's not walking, but I don't know what else there is for her to get into. At least I wouldn't have to carry her everywhere!

Back to our crazy month...the week after Easter, I have a dentist appointment, my annual well woman check-up, pokeno night, and Scout Fair that weekend. We are supposed to throw a birthday party for Darren that weekend, but no plans are in place yet. The last weekend in April is Festival International in Lafayette. We love this festival so much, and it's so much fun to walk around downtown Lafayette, listen to the bands, look at the art, eat all the yummy food, and catch up with old friends. This year is especially meaningful, because a bar that we liked to go to in college is throwing a reunion party that Saturday night. And...Darren turns 40 at midnight that night!

I take my microbiology final May 5th, and preschool ends for the year on May 22nd. It'll be here before I know it.

I have hundreds of pictures trapped on my camera, but no time to upload them. My laptop, which has a newer version of iPhoto, is full. The iMac has an older version of iPhoto, but a much bigger hard drive. The large size of my pictures crashes iPhoto most times, so I don't mess with it. I'll get there soon.

My husband just told me that I need to quit playing and work on schoolwork, so that's where I'm headed. One of these days, I'll talk more about our lovely Spring Break week, and the fact that we no longer have a cat.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Break

Playing in the camellia blooms with her Poppa
Louisiana State Capitol
view of the capitol gardens from the observation deck
LSU quadrangle

The kids and I had a great time in Lafayette, spending a few days with my parents over Spring Break. Darren was in Austin for a conference, so it was a good time to get away. Zoe and I were supposed to return on Monday, but she had 103 fever Sunday night, and we took her to an urgent care clinic Monday afternoon. The doctor there diagnosed her with bronchitis and possibly pneumonia, and I knew she couldn't go to daycare for me to go to class Tuesday morning, so she and I stayed in Lafayette until yesterday. The weather was beautiful the last few days, and we enjoyed being outside in the sunshine. All of the azaleas are blooming around Lafayette, and they are gorgeous!

Zoo of Acadiana Photos

Hot and tired after a long day of walking around the zoo
Louisiana alligator--not in our backyard like some people assume
Llamas-these guys were hilarious! They would try to eat out the machines where you could buy food, and follow you until you fed them. They reached over the fence and kissed Zoe, too.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday Night Update

I think I'll follow my sister and try to at least update once a week. I'll get back to posts with pictures as soon as my computer and camera resolve their differences. It's probably the fact that I have almost 5 gigabytes of pictures on my computer. iPhoto runs a little slow these days...

Anyway, I took my first microbiology test last Tuesday. I thought it had gone really well, because I really like the professor and feel like I am learning a lot in her class. However, I was disappointed in my grade. At least it was a point above the class average, and 25 points above the lowest grade. I have my first lab practical in that class Tuesday, and I need to spend some serious time studying for it tomorrow. I'll have both kids home with me, and Darren has an evening meeting, so we'll see how that goes.

My pharmacology class still has not progressed. All we are doing in that class is reading some online content and taking quizzes. You can take the quizzes as many times as you want, but I still cannot get my grades to where I want them. I copy and paste the quizzes into a blank Word document, then try to look up the answers. I don't understand how I am getting some of the grades that I am, since I am able to prove most of the answers. I think it's time to get back to reading and outlining the textbook. We're supposed to have a test sometime soon, and I am dreading it. We're trying to talk the professor into having it be a take-home test. She's not very good at communication, and I will be happy to leave this class with a C. I thought about dropping it and taking it again this summer, but it's the same professor. I may as well muddle through it.

I finally bit the bullet and took my HESI test on Thursday. This test is computerized, and it is a measurement of reading comprehension and basic math skills. The scores from this test make up a third of the scoring for entrance to the nursing program. I was shocked when I did better on the math than reading, since I taught reading for so long. Now that the test is behind me, I am ready to apply for the nursing program. I just have to wait for my HESI scores to be added to my online profile, and I'll be ready to go. The deadline is March 2nd, and we will find out in April. I am applying for the program at four schools, and hopefully I'll get into the one here in The Woodlands. If I don't get in, I guess it's back to teaching for me.

Zachary lost two teeth this week, so the Tooth Fairy has been busy around here. She comes at a high price; $5 plus a pack of bubble gum. She'll be arriving at our house later this evening...

Cub Scouts is going fairly well. Zachary's den meetings have been lasting well past the hour they are scheduled for, and Zoe has gotten harder to watch in them, so I am becoming one of those mothers who drop their son off. I hate to do it, but Darren is now going in to work on Thursdays, so I can't leave Zoe with him. I am doing better at not taking on additional responsibilities within the pack, and am looking forward to giving up the committee chair position soon. I don't know when I get to do that; I'm thinking May. I just have to find someone to chair the spring camping trip, spring recruitment, and the end of the year party. Plus, there has to be a replacement for me. Let's hope that happens!

We spent a quiet Valentine's weekend at home. Since finances are extremely tight these days, there were no lavish gifts exchanged, nor was there a romantic dinner for two. Instead, we started the day with heart-shaped pancakes, exchanged cards and gifts (boxes of candy for the boys and me, a stuffed dog for Zoe), watched a movie in our jammies, then went and drove to Town Center. We walked around the waterway, visited the new fancy grocery store there, then went and bought dinner ingredients at our normal store. We came home and grilled steak and potatoes, ate a yummy chocolate dessert, put the kids to bed, watched a movie, and I fell asleep on the couch. Today, we did some laundry and went for a bike ride. I spent a few hours working on schoolwork, and am heading to bed soon.

This is going to be a pretty boring week. I am off work tomorrow and school Thursday, so I am only going to send Zoe to daycare on Tuesday and Wednesday. We are heading to Lafayette on Friday for the weekend, and I can't wait! We haven't been since Thanksgiving, and haven't seen my parents in over two months. We're going to see a couple of Mardi Gras parades and hopefully meet up with some friends. I think the cat is going with us, because I don't want to leave him and have something happen to him. I hope the weather is nice; it's been so strange around here lately.

Good night...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I'm An Original!
LogoThere are
or fewer people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

I can't think of a creative title right now. The fact that I am posting something at all is amazing, considering I don't have much to say. There's not much excitement in my life right now. I am working on managing everything that I have to do each week without getting too stressed, and that is enough for me.

School is going okay. I still don't like my pharmacology class, and I don't think anyone else in the class does either. I'd drop it and take it this summer, but the same professor is teaching it then. I guess I'll just muddle through the best I can. There aren't any clear expectations, the professor doesn't answer emails, and I think the $108 I spent on the textbook was for nothing, since we don't use it. On the other hand, I am really enjoying my microbiology class. The teacher is very interesting, and I don't feel like I have a lot to teach myself outside of class. We are doing all sorts of cool labs with bacteria, and I think it is kinda fun. I have my first test in that class Tuesday, and I hope I have the same attitude after that.

Work is going well, too. We've gotten into a groove, for the most part. Writing lesson plans is getting easier, and we are able to do more with the kids each week, it seems. I am trying not to let the discipline issues get to me, since I only have them for five hours twice a week, and I don't have to give them grades.

Zachary is doing OK in school right now. He continues to struggle with staying on task and completing work on time, but he is enjoying what they are doing in class. He lost one of the lenses out of his glasses last Sunday, and we are still waiting for the replacement to come in. His teacher commented that he is a different child without the glasses, so hopefully the lenses will arrive in the next couple of days. Zach is into reading, drawing, and playing on the computer right now. He is trying really hard to fit in with the "cool" kids at school, and I am not sure that is going well.

Zoe is still not walking at 16 months. She pulls up, cruises around on things, and gets into everything. She babbles constantly, and I think she talks a lot more than we realize, but it isn't recognizable. She sings along with the alphabet song, and plays on her pretend phone, saying, "Uh huh". She has a new grin that scrunches up her face and shows off her teeth, but I've been unsuccessful in capturing it on the camera. Zoe also loves being outside, and riding in the car. She is cutting molars right now, so we've had some rough nights lately. She's starting to get chubby, so I expect a growth spurt soon.

Darren has been working like crazy for the past couple of weeks. He has a million projects going on for work, and is also trying to get his personal website redone for South by Southwest Interactive in March. I won't be seeing too much of him in the next month; he'll be attached to his MacBook.

Chance seems to be doing okay. We've weaned him off most of his medication, and he is moving around well and eating. The vet thinks it may have been an infection in his lymph system; I sure hope so!

Roux caught a raccoon about ten days ago. That was an interesting evening! He was barking like crazy, so Zachary and I went outside to see what was going on. I saw movement up in a tree, but before I could get to the back of the yard, this big raccoon had climbed down from the tree, landed on the back fence, and Roux had jumped up and grabbed it. Before I knew it, the dog and raccoon were whirling around, both of them growling, with the raccoon attached to the dog's face. I yelled at Zachary to get inside, and we both ran for the house. I could just imagine that thing flying off the dog onto me! A few minutes later, we checked again, and the raccoon and Roux were circling each other in the yard. We enlisted some neighbors for help, because I had no idea what to do. I wanted to get the dog inside without injury to him or me, and without any interaction with the raccoon.

By the time we came home from the neighbors' the raccoon was on his back, breathing hard, and I could see its intestines. Roux was circling it, and I was able to get him inside. He survived with some scratches on his nose and a bite on the corner of his mouth. The raccoon did not fare as well, though. It tried to leave the yard, was unsuccessful, and was curled up next to the fence when Darren came home and tried to hit it with a shovel. The next morning, it was dead, so Darren scooped it up, double-bagged it, and put it out with the trash. I was never so thankful that I am not a man!

On to other things...I have to complete my HESI test for nursing school by the 23rd, and apply by March 2nd. We have a trip to Lafayette planned for the weekend of the 21st, our annual Blue and Gold banquet for Cub Scouts the 28th, and Zach's school carnival March 7th. Besides that, it will be work, school, housework, and taking care of the kids for me. One day at a time...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Boston Public Garden

IMG_0135, originally uploaded by alanaransley.

This was the view from the entrance to our hotel. It was beautiful, and I wish we would have had more time to walk around.

Building at Harvard

IMG_0092, originally uploaded by alanaransley.

I have no idea which building this is. I just thought it was pretty.

In the Snow

IMG_0109, originally uploaded by alanaransley.

Natalie and me, outside of the restaurant where Beth's party was held. It had just started snowing.

De-Icing Our Plane

IMG_0143, originally uploaded by alanaransley.

This was a new experience for me. I was hoping they were thorough!

I know it's been over three weeks since I last posted, but there never seems to be the time to sit down and write. Also, now that so much time has elapsed, there's even more pressure to write. How can a blog be stressful? It's not like I'm getting paid or anything.

Anyway, since I last wrote, Zach went back to school January 6th, I went back to work on the 7th, and Natalie and I went to Boston the 9th-11th. We had a wonderful time, even though it was so incredibly cold. I left Houston Friday morning, and met Natalie in Charlotte. We flew together to Boston, and arrived there around 4:30. We checked into our hotel which was absolutely gorgeous, and walked to Copley Place to meet Beth and her friends. Everything was covered in ice, and we had a hard time not slipping on the sidewalks. They had dinner reservations at 9:30, but Natalie and I ended up going to Maggiano's for dinner and Finale for dessert, and were in the hotel in bed by 10:00.

Saturday morning, we set out from our hotel around 10:00, walked through the Public Garden and Boston Common, and followed part of the Freedom Trail. We got sidetracked by H&M and some other shops, then looked through Faneuil Hall. We wandered around the North End and had lunch, then decided to take the T to Harvard. We walked around the beautiful campus for a little while, then browsed through the Harvard COOP, which is their huge bookstore. After that, we took the T back to Boston Common, and went back to our hotel to collapse in bed for a little while. We took a taxi to Beth's house later that evening, and visited with her parents and some other friends from Louisiana. When we left to go to her birthday party at Eastern Standard, it started snowing. I think we were the only ones there who were excited. We managed to stay awake at the party until midnight, and some of Beth and Adam's friends drove us back to the hotel. Sunday morning, we went outside and played in the snow for about five minutes, then packed up and headed to the airport. We were delayed in leaving because the plane had to be de-iced, and I almost didn't make my flight in Charlotte. That flight ended up leaving late as well, and it was the most cramped, uncomfortable plane I have ever been on. Once we arrived in Houston, we sat on the tarmac for so long, waiting on our gate, that Darren had my suitcase before we disembarked. I was so glad to be able to go on that trip with Natalie, because we hadn't seen each other since the beginning of August. We're going to be in Louisiana together for Easter, and I can't wait to see my nephew!

School started for me the following night with orientation for my online pharmacology class, then class the next morning for my campus microbiology class. Zach was home with strep throat on the Monday and Tuesday, then Darren got it later in the week. I am enjoying micro, but my pharmacology class is really disorganized, and I can't figure out exactly what she wants from us. The teacher is a second-year nursing professor, so I want to stay on her good side, though. I am going to try to tackle some of that class this afternoon.

In my previous post, I was worried about a college English class that I had tested out of. It was listed as a C on my transcript. After talking to someone at LSU, as well as a transcript evaluator at my current school, that C has been changed to CR. It won't count against me, so my chances of getting into nursing school seem pretty good, as long as I do well on the HESI test. I have registered and paid for this test, but haven't gone and taken it yet. It is a measure of reading comprehension and basic math skills, and I've heard it's easy, but I want do to well, and can't bring myself to go and take it. The deadline to apply for LVN school (not my first choice) is quickly approaching, so I need to go and take it this week sometime. Applications for the RN program are also being accepted right now, and the HESI is all that is in my way.

Last weekend, we had a four-day weekend, but Darren had to work Friday and Monday. I honestly can't remember if we did anything last weekend. I think we cleaned the house and worked on Zachary's Pinewood Derby car.

This past week, everyone focused on getting well (Zoe had a cold, and I have a nasty sinus infection. Again.), and trying to keep up with the house. Darren worked late several evenings, and Zach had four dental fillings put in on Thursday, earning him a day at home. Friday night, we went and set up the track for Pinewood Derby (after numerous phone calls to figure out how to get it out of the church where it is stored), and yesterday morning was the Derby. Zach was technically beaten by the niece of one of the contestants, but since she is not a registered Boy Scout, he was the overall winner. We'll race again at the district campout in April. In the meantime, I have a great Pinewood Derby track in my garage. Anyone wanna come over and race? Darren and Zach went to see the Aeros play last night, and had seats on center ice right behind the Plexiglass. Even though the Aeros lost, they had a great time. Zach got a puck, and was able to take a shot at the goal after the game, as part of a special Boy Scout recognition program. Zoe and I spent a quiet evening at home, which I needed.

This coming week, my baby sister turns 30, and Darren's company moves into temporary office space. I think his time of being home with me all the time is up. I've enjoyed it, but will also like having some quiet time in the house during the week. We're contemplating going to the Houston Auto Show next weekend, but that is an expensive day out. I guess we'll watch the Superbowl, even though I don't even know who's playing. It would be nice to go somewhere to watch it, but the invitations aren't pouring in, and I'm not offering to host.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Can't Sleep

I don't know what is going on, but this is the second night in a row that I can't sleep. I was up until 4:00 last night, then slept until 10:45. I had a short nap around 5:30, but am still not tired. Zoe will up in a few hours wanting my attention, and I am sure Darren would like to sleep late.

I just spent an hour chatting with someone from high school on Facebook. I didn't know her that well, but it was nice to talk to someone I haven't seen in over six years. Hopefully she can get some sleep, too.

I think the stress of applying to nursing school is what is keeping me from sleeping. It is coming up in a couple of weeks, and I want so badly to get in. I don't want to have to go back to teaching, and I don't want our year of making sacrifices to be for nothing.

I am worried because part of the admission is your grade in three classes. One of the classes, freshman English, I never took, because I tested out of it with my ACT score and AP test. For some reason, there is a C on my transcript in that class, and after over 16 years, am I going to be able to get that fixed? I considered taking it in the minimester over the holidays, but I have been going to school nonstop since before I finished teaching in June, and it was time for a break. I can only hope that this issue can be resolved in my favor. If it is, I have the credentials to get into nursing school, because I have checked them obsessively. It is so competitive that they only take 30 out of the 160 to 180 applicants each year. I'll have to cross my fingers and say a lot of prayers that this will happen!