Sunday, October 09, 2011

In the last three months...

I have: --Left my home health job and started one in pediatrics that I absolutely love --Become the mother of a fifth-grader who is in intermediate school --Thrown a Super Mario Brothers birthday party for a 10-year-old and a Little Mermaid party for a 4-year-old --Become a soccer and ballet mom --Still did not manage to take a vacation, nor do I have one planned --Tried to exercise, but that has only happened sporadically --Started cooking more --Started our last year in Cub Scouts, as a Webelos II den leader --Pinned lots of things to my boards on Pinterest that I will hopefully get to do someday --Still not conquered the clutter in my house that seems to multiply daily Yeah, I guess that's about it. I have lots of pictures that are still on my camera, and lots of ideas for blog posts that are in my head. I'll get there, someday...I am much busier than when I was a full-time student, but at least I get to spend more time with my family.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Where has the summer gone?

Wow, I blinked, and school starts in a month. Where did the time go? We spent June hanging out at home, with the exception of a week at Cub Scout daycamp, and a few days in Louisiana to visit my parents. Then, things sped up at an amazing rate.

I took the NCLEX exam to become a Registered Nurse on June 28th, found out that I had passed on the 30th, and decided to go out to dinner to celebrate. I ran into one of my nursing school friends at the restaurant, and she told me about a job opportunity. She had been hired by a home health agency, and they were looking for one more person in our area. I sent them a copy of my resume that night, and the owner called me the next morning and hired me over the phone.

That was Friday, July 1st. My parents came in that weekend to celebrate the holiday, and we participated in two of the local events. We went to the free patriotic concert that The Woodlands puts on each year at the Mitchell Pavilion, and marched in The Woodlands' parade on Monday morning with our Cub Scout pack. I'll get around to uploading photos eventually.

Tuesday, July 5th, I started work, and the kids started daycare. If you know me, I don't like to rush into things, and I like to think things through before committing to them. I was so worried that I had rushed into this job, but after sending out 80+ resumes and only having two interviews, I decided that I had better take this opportunity.

Things have been a little hectic around our house since I started working. I leave the house around 6:45 to make it to the office by 8:00, and Darren gets the kids up and takes them to daycare. I either spend time in the office doing paperwork, or ride along with one of the other nurses, seeing their patients. I leave the office by 5:00 in order to make it to daycare to pick the kids up by 6:30. Some days I can't make it in time, so Darren has to leave work to get the kids in time. It can be stressful at times, knowing that I have a 45-mile drive, and hoping that the traffic gods cooperate. A helicopter would make the commute so much easier, but no one has offered me one yet, unfortunately.

Once I finish my training, the plan is that I will be seeing patients in my area, and will only have to drive to the office once every two weeks, for supplies and my paycheck. I am really enjoying the job, and am learning so much every day. Most of the patients are very grateful for our help, and I know that I am really making a difference. I like the fact that I will not have to work nights, weekends, or holidays, and I will have the opportunity to see different people and not be stuck inside all day.

Since I am gone for so long every day, we don't do a whole lot in the evenings during the week. Weekends are reserved for catching up on sleep, cleaning, washing clothes, and grocery shopping. I try to do as much as I can to make our lives easier during the week, and I know that things will get easier once I am in the field in our area.

I would really like to be going somewhere on vacation this summer, but Darren never seems to be able to get away from work, and loses several vacation days each year. We're talking about a trip in October, which would be wonderful. Zach is leaving tomorrow to go spend two weeks with my parents, and they will be taking a vacation to Tennessee with my sister and her family. Once he returns, there will only be two weeks until school starts. I'm not looking forward to the craziness that the beginning of school brings. Zach is playing the trumpet in the band this year, and we've already bought a used one. We ordered school supplies from the school, so I don't have to deal with that headache. The next hurdle is planning his birthday party, which is the Saturday after school starts. We have the Game Truck coming, and we're thinking about a Super Mario Bros. theme. It should be fun. More updates soon...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

And the winner is...

Comment #12, Heather R. I used random.org to generate the winning number, but I am not savvy enough to be able to show you that on here. Congratulations, Heather! I'll be emailing you the code to download the software.

Thanks everyone for playing! If you are still interested in purchasing the My Memories digital scrapbooking software, you can use the discount code on the right to receive $10 off the regular price. I hope to have another giveaway to share with you soon.

Monday, June 06, 2011

My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Giveaway

I've been "into" scrapbooking since 1998. I go through periods where I spend a lot of time creating album pages, and other periods where I either collect scrapbooking supplies, or just wish that I had time to work on my albums. For the past three years, I've been in school full-time, and there has been no time to think about doing anything creative. I really miss it, because it relaxes me. I take a lot of pictures, and haven't ordered prints in over a year, because I knew that I wasn't going to have time to deal with them. I've been looking forward to graduation, because I was finally going to have time to scrapbook again.

I was contacted by the company My Memories and asked to review their digital scrapbooking software, called My Memories Suite. I was very excited, because so few of those kinds of products are compatible with my ancient iMac, and this one is. It is extremely easy and fun to use, and with it, you can create digital scrapbooks, cards, calendars, and more.

Here are some album pages that I put together in about an hour. I didn't buy any extra embellishments; I just used what came with the software. I uploaded my photos into the software, plugged them into the pre-made album pages, and added some text. Once I was finished, I exported the pages as JPEG images to my desktop so that I could share them here. Easy!






The My Memories Suite software comes with many professionally-designed scrapbook templates, or you can create your own design. It comes with different pages and embellishments to make your album special, and you can also make it an interactive experience by adding music, video, or narration, then sharing it with others on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, or on a DVD. You can even view your album on an iPod. Check out all of the features here.

My Memories has its own YouTube channel, and here is a short video that explains some of the features of the software:
They also have a blog, a Facebook page with tutorials, and are on Twitter.

The digital scrapbooking software is available as a download by going here, and as a special promotion, readers of my blog receive $10 off the regular price of $39.97, by using the code STMMMS19139 at check-out. Each download also comes with $10 in coupons to purchase additional digital paper packs or layouts.

I am also doing a giveaway of the software. One lucky reader of this blog will win a free copy of the My Memories Suite. Entering is easy; visit the My Memories website, www.MyMemories.com, and check out the digital paper packs and layouts that are on the site. For one entry, leave a comment on this post with your favorite layout or digital paper pack. I am also offering additional entries in the giveaway; please leave these as separate comments. You get one additional entry for "liking" My Memories on Facebook, one for following them on Twitter, and one for being a new follower of this blog, so each person can get up to four entries in the giveaway.

The giveaway will run from Tuesday, June 7th-Saturday, June 11th at 10:00 PM CDT, when I will announce the winner. Please make sure I have an email address to contact you if you are the winner.

This giveaway is linked with:




Disclaimer: as compensation for doing this review/giveaway, I received a free copy of the My Memories Suite software.

Update: Heather R, comment #12, was the winner. Thanks so much for entering!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Great Weekend!

It was so strange to have a weekend where I didn't have to worry about studying! Friday night, I had a girls' night out with some of the women in my neighborhood. Traffic was crazy around The Woodlands, because the Ironman Texas was scheduled for Saturday, and Town Center was the hub of all of the activity. So, we had a hard time getting into Town Center to meet everyone at Crush. I had never been there, and was very excited to see what it was like. They have a really cook rooftop bar, and we hung out there with some drinks and appetizers. We were supposed to walk over to Tinseltown to see Something Borrowed, but didn't end up making it to the movie on time. So, Plan B was go to the Goose's Acre for more drinks, and I had dessert, as well. Some of the women wanted to go out dancing, but I was ready to head home by 10:30. What can I say; I'm getting old!

Saturday, we decided that we wanted to try to go and watch as much of the Ironman Texas as we could. The swim in Lake Woodlands started at 6:50, and we realized there was no way we were hauling the kids out of the house that early in the morning. We ended up riding our bikes up to Woodlands Parkway right before noon, and were able to catch the first 50 or so bike riders as they headed back to Town Center from their 112 mile bike ride. I can't imagine riding that far on my bike! We went home, ate lunch, packed up some provisions, and hopped back on our bikes for the ride to Market Street around 3:00. We had to navigate past spectators and the Ironman participants in the running portion of the race, and were able to grab a spot along the wall near the finish line. We watched the first participant from The Woodlands cross the finish line, as well as a few other people, then the kids started begging to go home. The bike ride took us about an hour, and with a 36-pound child in the seat behind me, I feel like I worked almost as hard as some of the Ironman competitors. Zoe napped in her seat on the way home; must be nice! Last night, we were so worn out from our bike ride that we called it an early night.

Today was the Art Car Parade in Houston. We've only been once before, and decided that we wanted to take the kids to go and watch it. We made it downtown a little late, and by the time we found parking and walked to where we could watch the parade, car number 142 was passing us. We did manage to see over 100 cars, and about an hour's worth of parade time, so that was more than enough for us, especially with the heat. The kids really seemed to enjoy it, and I took lots of pictures. After the parade, we wandered around Sam Houston Park. The kids chased the pigeons, I admired the ducklings in the pond, and the kids played in the sand where there was an event earlier. Afterward, we drove around Houston for a little while, and headed home to get on with our Sunday evening chores.

It was such a nice weekend that I didn't want it to end. We didn't worry about cleaning the house, grocery shopping, or doing laundry, and I didn't have to hole myself up anywhere to study. Bliss!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Follow me on Pinterest

I've been having a lot of fun playing on Pinterest this week. If I could figure out how to add a button to this blog, or how to do any designing on my blog for that matter, I would add one in the sidebar. Since I can't figure that out, you can see my Pinterest boards here. If you want an invitation to Pinterest, email me, and I'll send you one. It's very addictive, and I love looking at all of the beautiful things that other people are pinning.

Edit: I finally figured out how to add a Pinterest button, since that's where I have been spending too much time

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Free Summer Subway Art Printable

I have been playing around with subway art for a while, and downloading freebies as I find them for the different seasons. Since I am finished with school, I want to celebrate by decorating my home for summer. This is printable (I have an 8x10 frame, so I will print it at 8.5x11 and trim), and you are welcome to use it to decorate your home for summer. I know it's nothing fancy, but I like the cheery colors. Enjoy! Summer Subway Art

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Wow!

In one week, I will be a nursing school graduate, AKA a Graduate Nurse. Since I have no job prospects on the horizon, I can't wait to return to doing things that I enjoy, like scrapbooking, cooking real dinners, reading books for pleasure, and blogging. I hope to see you soon!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's the Crystals, Mommy!

I really need to get better about documenting all of the funny things that Zoe does. She is hilarious, and has a great imagination. She loves to dress up, and pretend different things. We've had to put a padlock on her dress-up trunk, and lock her closet, because she'd change outfits ten times a day if we didn't.

Anyway, as I was sitting in front of the computer today, summoning the energy and desire to do some schoolwork, Zoe came into the office, and I noticed there was something sticky on her arms and in her hair. I asked her what it was, and she said, "It's the crystals, Mommy!". I asked her to show me the crystals, and she led me to our downstairs half-bath. Under the sink was a bottle of hand soap, and she had apparently decided that it was pretty, and needed to adorn herself with it. She was so proud of herself that I didn't have the heart to tell her what she did was wrong.

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Orleans trip

I have so much to write about my trip to New Orleans, but schoolwork is calling my name. For now, here is a slideshow of my pictures from last weekend. If you view them on Flickr, there are descriptions for most of them. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bring on the stress

My final semester of nursing school starts on Tuesday. I can't say that I am fully ready to spend a large majority of my time either studying, or worrying that I am not studying enough, again, but it is so nice to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. These past couple of years have been a crazy whirlwind, and I sure hope that I look back on them and think that all of the sacrifice was worth it. I started school when Zoe was eight months old, so that is all that she has known.

This semester is supposed to be all about preparing us for the transition from the role of the student to the professional nurse, and they cover resume writing, as well as do their best to prepare us for the HESI, which is a standardized test that we will take in mid-April. We have to pass that test in order to graduate, as well as to sit for our national boards this summer.

I have three classes this semester: theory, which is our lecture course, an online jurisprudence class that helps us to pass a jurisprudence exam (another requirement, by the state, I think), and clinical. We no longer have a lab class; we've learned all of the lab skills that they deem are important, and are supposed to be ready to practice any of them in the hospital. Let me tell you a secret; I learned how to start IVs from a 7-minute YouTube video, and I have practiced once in the lab on a severed arm from a mannequin. That arm bled all over the place, because I guess I didn't do it right. There is no way that I am ready to start an IV on a real live human, so I am planning to practice in the lab to hone my skills first.

Like I tell myself every semester, I am going to try my hardest to better manage my time, keep up with the kids and the house, and spend less time on Facebook. I do have the added pressure of needing to study for the HESI this semester, and look for a job, so I am sure I will have an even harder time sleeping than I normally do.

I am hoping that six months from now, I am gainfully employed in a job that I enjoy, and look forward to going to. I keep wavering back and forth as to which department I want to work in, but I think I will just be happy to quickly get a job. I really thought about pursuing a school nurse position, or a position in a doctor's office, but neither of those jobs will pay what I need to make to climb out of the debt that I have put us in the past couple of years, and one of the reasons that I left teaching (not one of the main ones) was that I didn't want to work 40 hours a week anymore. Sure, I won't get weekends, summers, and holidays off, but I only have to work 3 days a week, which means I will get at least two days a week where I will be home alone. Bliss! Maybe that means I'll once again have time for regular hobbies.

For now, I have to keep myself busy with printing out PowerPoint presentations and completing the assigned reading. May 11th, here I come!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Serenity Now!

My dear son has a science take-home test with 34 problems on it that is due tomorrow. I guess it was assigned on Monday, and they were supposed to complete 10 questions a night. I discovered it by accident in his backpack yesterday, after he informed me that he didn't have homework, and left to go play with friends.

Speaking of the backpack/binder: there is a mess of papers in there, but I get yelled at every time I try to go through there and sort it out. I made him a folder with labeled pockets for classwork and homework, and there is a student planner that he is supposed to be writing assignments in, but he rarely does. So, I guess I have no choice but to let him continue being messy and disorganized. He makes As and Bs, and always has his work completed to turn in, so I guess he's doing an acceptable job.

Back to the science packet: Zach worked on it with his dad last night after our Cub Scout meeting, but they made no progress, and Darren informed him that he needed to try to work on it at school today, and he would have to sit down and work on it until it was complete after school today.

Zach came home today, complained about the unfair punishment that he received from a teacher for stopping and waiting for a friend while he was supposed to be walking laps at recess, then sat down to work. After the second item that he could only give me a silly answer for, I asked him what resource he was supposed to be using to complete this thing. He responded that he was supposed to use his science textbook and journal, but that he didn't bring either of those things home tonight. I informed him that my brain was not going to be the resource that he used to answer all of the questions, because I think that was his plan, and told him that I will be happy to check his completed work, or help him with a difficult problem that he has attempted and been unable to answer, but he is on his own besides that.

When did children become such helpless hand raisers? That was something that I had a big problem with when I was teaching fifth grade. Students would look at a problem for a second, decide it was too hard, and immediately raise their hands for assistance. What ever happened to trying your hardest on something, and figuring it out on your own, by looking it up in a book or using your brain? Children these days seem to give up too easily, which really scares me.

I know I should help my child with his homework, and I do, but I don't think it's my duty to teach a concept, or supply the answers to problems. Instead, I try to steer him toward the correct answer, or toward a resource for answering the problem. I prefer that he does his work, and I go over it with him afterward. If he does not get a perfect grade on a homework assignment, I am okay with that, because it should be a reflection of his work, not mine.

When I was a teacher (which was only two and a half years ago), the homework that we assigned had to be a review of what was taught in class, not a new concept, and I always took the time to explain each homework assignment, work the first problem with students, and give them an opportunity to ask questions. If that is going on in Zach's class, I don't think he is paying attention.

So, it's going to be hard for both of us, but I am going to let him sit at the table and work on the packet on his own. He has a dictionary to look up unfamiliar words, and I will look in on him periodically, but he needs to figure this out on his own. After all, I am not at school with him to hold his hand and answer each question during class.

It could be a long night...

***Update: I took Zachary to the public library after dinner, and helped him to look up the answers in the encyclopedia, and in some other reference books. Sure, he could have Googled the answers, but I wanted him to learn how to really look for them. The librarian wanted to know why I didn't just let him look up the answers in an online encyclopedia, but I thought that was too easy. In the process, Zach discovered some nonfiction books that he was interested in checking out (he's not a big reader), and came home and started reading. In the end, everyone was happy, and the work was done.