Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Day

Well, the first day of school was interesting, to say the least. There were no pleasantries, no easing us into things. We started with a new professor who came from the upper level, and she seemed very unimpressed with us and our knowledge. She lectured in quiz form (hello, new material and first day of the semester!), so that we had to take notes from her quiz questions to complete the lab for Friday that I assumed we were going to get to ask questions about (wrong!). She questioned what we learned last semester, got snarky when one of our current professors tried to tell her what she was "reviewing" was something we hadn't learned yet, and never cracked a smile. Remind me to never be in a room alone with her!

After that fun time, we signed some papers, were reminded about SNA and all the extra stuff they want us to do outside of class in our free (Ha!) time, then we went over math questions that were sent to us in December. That was frustrating for me, because there was one question that the professor and a student struggled to answer for about ten minutes, but I didn't bother to raise my hand, because I don't work the math problems the way they want us to.

We went over the syllabus, other professors talked, then we went to lunch. After lunch, I had lab, and it was supposed to be on physical assessments and focused assessments. We walked in, and it was the new professor from this morning who was in charge of the lab. She attempted to divide us into groups of three by numbering off. It took several attempts, and we were all getting frustrated. One room was physical assessment,where other professors were sitting at different beds. The other room was where we had focused assessment scenarios. We all got into
our groups and started going through our scenarios. One person was the nurse, one was the patient, and one was the observer. We were to go through the scenarios together, trying to figure out how we would focus our assessment for a particular symptom in a client.

Our new professor walked around the whole time, but never stopped to check on
anyone, or to offer any feedback. After we had done three scenarios,
everyone went and kind of stood in line outside the other room,
waiting for our turn to do the physical assessment. It was 2:00 by
then, and the next group was coming in at 2:30. I was beginning to
worry that I wouldn't get out of there in time to pick Zach up. Four other professors were in that room at different beds with a mannequin. Apparently, one professor was just making them pretend, but I could see that two others were very thorough in what they expected.

We started to get loud (a few girls), and the teachers doing
the physical assessment were starting to get annoyed with us. The new professor walked over to another one, and they started having a discussion.
The only thing that I could hear was that our older professor was saying that
we would never finish, and why didn't we just do the skills check-off
in clinical, since that's where we normally do it. They sat there and
argued for a good five minutes while the rest of just stood around,
not knowing what to do. It was pretty awkward!

Finally, it was said that three of us at a time would be with a
professor. Another student and I went to one of the stations, where a student already was. She finished her assessment, we watched, and we were done. I
didn't get signed off, but didn't care, because I was ready to go. Strange!

Tomorrow, I have clinical orientation at the hospital, am off Thursday, and have two or three different labs to prepare for Friday. I learn to give injections Friday, and am excited/terrified. We'll see how that goes!

Zoe did not handle Mommy not dropping her off at day care well this morning. She screamed and cried, and apparently threw herself at the door as I left. She whined and cried all day at school, and had just woken up when I picked her up. She threw a fit because I wouldn't let her bring her nap mat home, and made herself limp so I couldn't strap her into her car seat. She yanked her paci off and flung it into the back of the car. A bag of chocolate-covered pretzels finally soothed the savage beast, and she was okay until we got home. She found her dress-up clothes, and threw a fit that her Barbie headband wouldn't stay on, and later had to be sent to time-out because she got mad and threw her toys. Darren's dropping her off again tomorrow; watch out!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What a day...

A guy I went to elementary school with passed away from cancer today. I hadn't seen or talked to him in over 20 years, but we had 65 people in our 8th grade graduating class, and most of us had been together since kindergarten or preschool, so we were all pretty close (whether we liked each other or not). With Facebook becoming more popular the past couple of years, most of us have reconnected, and I really enjoy that. I didn't have the smoothest of times during the junior high years, but that's been so long ago, and we've all changed. I've enjoyed getting to know these people as adults and parents, and am amazed how supportive everyone has been of Blaine these past 11 months.

Anyway, I don't have much experience with the death of my peers, and this is hitting me pretty hard. One other guy from our elementary school class died in a boating accident in 1994, and another one died in Austin a couple of years ago. The guy who died today, Blaine, just had such amazing faith and an unbelievable support system of family and friends. I don't think he ever married or had kids, and was an only child, and his parents were the ones to take care of him through his illness. Being a parent, I can't imagine having to go through the loss of a child, even at 35 years old.

I know I'll be hugging my kids extra-tightly today, and thinking about Blaine, and how his journey was a reminder of what is truly important in life. I won't be able to travel to Louisiana for the funeral, since my semester of nursing school classes starts tomorrow, and that's kind of disappointing, because I would have loved to see some of my old classmates. I didn't go to the same high school that most of them went to, and we don't have elementary school reunions, so I have no reason to ever see these people.

That's all for now...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Christmas/Disney trip slideshow

Happy 2010

I've been out of school for four weeks now, and every day, the thought has crossed my mind to post something on here.  Life has gotten in the way every day, apparently.  School starts back up for me next Tuesday, so there's no time like the present...

I spent the first week after I finished my finals in a state of disbelief that I was really out of school, and also getting everything ready for the kids' Christmas activities at school and day care.  We had a really nice neighborhood progressive dinner that Saturday night, and it was a lot of fun to get to hang out with our neighbors and eat and drink ourselves silly.

The second week I was out of school was spent getting ready for Christmas.  I didn't make many preparations beforehand, so that week was spent baking, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, taking a picture of the kids, and addressing and mailing Christmas cards. There was no time to just sit down and enjoy the holidays, unfortunately.  I literally finished wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve, just so the kids could open them.  My neighbor had baby #3 on Christmas Eve as well, so I went and spent a couple of hours at the hospital with her and another neighbor.  Since we were leaving to go on vacation Christmas Day, a lot of our traditions that we enjoy just didn't happen this year.  We did get a chance to take the kids riding to see Christmas lights a couple of times, but not nearly as much as we have in the past.  We didn't watch The Polar Express on Christmas Eve, didn't read The Cajun Night Before Christmas, and didn't get to wake up Christmas Day and leisurely open gifts.  Instead, we opened them the night before, ate homemade pizza for dinner around 9:00, then put the kids to bed.  Christmas Day, the kids opened their Santa gifts, we had breakfast, then switched into packing mode.  I really felt bad that we had to rush them and not let them enjoy the holiday, but we had somewhere to go!

After a mad dash through the house to pack, we made it out the door at 4:30, two and a half hours later than planned.  We arrived at my parents' house in Louisiana as the kids were getting tired, opened presents with them and ate some party food, then passed out for the night.  After getting up and loading up my dad's Yukon XL to the roof the next morning, we headed to Orlando, FL for our long-awaited family vacation.  The trip took 14 long hours, and included a stop at an outlet mall in Gulfport, MS, because Zachary somehow managed to lose his second pair of shoes.  We found a pair for him and two for Zoe at the Stride Rite outlet, and hit the road again.  We ate dinner at a lovely Burger King in Jacksonville, FL, and made it to the house we were renting in Clermont at 11:30 that night.  My sister, her husband, and their son were already there waiting for us.  I don't know what time we passed out, but it was late!

The house that we rented had four bedrooms, and Darren and Zach shared a bedroom while Zoe and I shared one.  Our room had two twin beds, and lucky me spent most of those nights with her in bed with me.  She still hasn't made it through the night in her bed since then.  She's cutting molars, which I don't think is too much fun.

Sunday, the 27th was our first day at Disney World.  According to a website that I had access to, Hollywood Studios was the park to go to that day.  I did want the kids' first Disney experience to be Magic Kingdom, but since we did choose the busiest week of the year to go, I figured we'd better obey what that website was saying!  The holiday decorations were beautiful, and the park was crowded, but not claustrophobic.  We rode the Great Movie Ride, some of us rode the Rockin' Roller Coaster while Zoe and Carter napped in their strollers, rode a Star Wars simulation ride, saw the Osborne Family Festival of Lights (wow!), and rode the Toy Story Mania ride.  By then, we were all exhausted, and called it a day.  I think the kids really liked their first Disney experience, though Zach is already past the age where everything is magical to him.  I am glad that he's not into characters, though, because waiting in line for photos and autographs at the parks seems to be really time-consuming.

Monday the 28th, we decided it was time to visit Magic Kingdom.  We managed to get out of the house earlier than the morning before, and arrived at the park around 8:30.  We rode Peter Pan, It's a Small World, and the Haunted Mansion before 10:30.  Natalie and Mom went and got Fast Passes for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and we grabbed some lunch before the crowds got too crazy.  The adults and Zachary took turns riding Big Thunder, and by then the place was so crowded that we couldn't get the stroller through the crowd.  We left that area, and waited while Dad and Kevin saw the show at the Hall of Presidents.  After that, we walked to Tomorrowland, rode the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Ride, then saw the show at the Carousel of Progress.  We got Fast Passes for the Buzz Lightyear ride later, rode Pirates of the Caribbean and walked through the Swiss Family Treehouse, then decided to go back to the house and come back to the park later, minus the babies.  We stopped on the way back to the house and had dinner at Outback, then Darren, Zachary, and I went back to the Magic Kingdom.  We rode Snow White, Winnie the Pooh, the Haunted Mansion, the boys rode Splash Mountain (too cold for me!), and Big Thunder before walking through Toon Town to the Buzz Lightyear Ride.  We rode that twice, then went and rode Pirates of the Caribbean again before leaving the park.  It was so nice to not have to push the stroller around that night!

The next day, we decided to visit Animal Kingdom, since we had never been there.  We met my cousins there, and immediately rode the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride.  The kids liked it, but it wasn't as exciting for them.  After the ride, there are some trails to walk along and view more animals, and Zoe quickly grew bored.  She wasn't very impressed with the zoo at Thanksgiving, and it started to become very crowded there.  We were all hungry, and after Zoe's second meltdown while we were eating, we decided that she needed to go back to the house and nap.  Darren and I took her back to the house, and the others came back a few hours later.  I was disappointed that I didn't get to look around Animal Kingdom more, but it was really too crowded to enjoy it, and not exciting enough to entertain my two year old.  We had dinner reservations at the T-Rex Cafe at Downtown Disney that night, and that was a fun experience!  Zach was able to shop in the Lego store, and I bought some souvenirs as well.  We didn't get to walk around as much as we would like, because we were all tired. 

Wednesday, the 30th, we planned to spend a second day at Magic Kingdom, but decided to ride the monorail to Epcot instead.  We were able to ride Spaceship Earth right away while Natalie went and got Fast Passes for Soarin'.  We also rode the Universe of Energy ride, Journey into Imagination, the Nemo ride, Living with the Land, Soarin' (wow!), and Test Track.  Afterward, we went and walked through the different countries before leaving.

We had always planned to spend New Year's Eve at Epcot, because we had heard that it was the place to be.  Everyone was pretty burned out on Disney by that day, so Darren and I took the kids back to Epcot while everyone else did their own thing.  We tried to go to Magic Kingdom, but it was at capacity and closed.  We ended up walking through all of the countries again, Zachary did this Kimpossible mission with a cell phone, and we left the park pretty early.  Apparently when they close the Magic Kingdom, everyone gets diverted to Epcot.  It was so busy that we had to park in a ditch along the entrance road, and at 4:30, people were already occupying benches and available areas of grass to watch the fireworks for that night.  We got some really good Chicago-style pizza and took it back to the house.  Everyone was asleep by midnight...

New Year's Day the weather became really nasty.  We drove up to my aunt and uncle's house in Altamonte Springs, and my cousins were there, too.  We had a nice visit, and my aunt and uncle cooked a ton of food.  We hated to leave, but knew that we needed to get back to the house to pack. 

I think we left around 8:30 the next morning to head back to Louisiana, and ended up taking a scenic route through parts of Florida.  We purposely got off the interstate in Pensacola and drove along the coast, so we could see what it looked like in Gulf Shores, AL.  We vacationed there almost every Labor Day from 1988-2002, and wanted to see if the area had recovered from the hurricane damage in 2005.  It's grown from sleepy little towns to high-rise condos in the past few years, but the resort where we always stayed is still there, and so is the FloraBama bar on the state line.  I'd love to take the kids back sometime...

It took us 15 hours to get back to Lafayette on Saturday, and Sunday we planned to head home early.  However, someone had left a light on in my car during the week it was parked at Mom and Dad's, so Darren and my dad ended up having to go and buy a new battery for it.  I think we made it home around 8:30 that night, after stopping for boudin and cracklins at Don's in Scott, La.  Yum!

We hung out at home on Monday, and Zach, Darren, and Zoe all went back to school and work on Tuesday.  I spent last week cleaning and taking down decorations, and we went down to Galveston yesterday to see Darren's dad, stepmom, and sister.  It was a nice, relaxing day, and we had a lot of fun.

This week is my last week before I go back to school.  My goal is to organize my school stuff, get some assignments done, and get as much done around the house as possible so that life is a little easier once I go back.  We'll see...

I will be posting some pictures from our trip, and in the meantime, check out the Flickr sidebar.