Monday, July 28, 2014

Tales from La La Land

Well that was a fun little week. I deluded myself into thinking that I was totally fine and on top of all of my assignments. 

In reality, I am close, but not close enough. 

My first test grade was an 86, which is a good grade. It's just not what I am used to getting. I can guarantee that the format of the test resulted in me getting 2 or 3 questions incorrect. 

The tests are set up online, in a similar format to the NCLEX. They are preparing us for this major licensing test from the gate. I appreciate it, but it is going to take some getting used to. 

Essentially, once you log on, you click on the test, and it begins. It's multiple choice, and you must choose and answer to go on. You are not able to go back. 

There were a few questions that I just wasn't quite sure of the correct answer, and then further into the test, I knew the answer but was unable to go back and change it. 

So knowing that now, I am going to take my time and really think about the answers, knowing that I only get one shot. 

If I get a B in this class, I will be ok with it. It's not what I want, nor is it indicative of the amount of effort I have put into this summer term, but it will be ok. 

Exam 2 tomorrow. First mental breakdown last week complete. Studied all weekend. Exhausted. Hungry. Anxious. Started exercising every other day. HANGRY. Need an A on tomorrow's exam. Please dear sweet me out!

Monday, July 21, 2014

On the eve of my first nursing school exam, I am taking stock of how things are going for me. 

And I must say, things are going well. 

Last year, when I took Microbiology, the thing that stuck with me the most was the need to get organized and have a system. I vowed to start to and stick with a system every semester, to help me keep my sanity. 

That system includes the wiggle room for when things go way wrong or when something crazy happens. 

This system is working very well for far. 

The first day of school, I took the 29 page syllabus and spent about an hour at home planning short and long term goals. I looked ahead at my calendar to see what things were already scheduled and worked school around it. 

The first thing I did was to write all the important due dates in my planner. That is a given. Everyone knows to do that!

The second thing was to plan out my semester on notecards in the form of weekly goals. I gave myself deadlines for when I would like to have tasks completed so that when something comes up, I had built in room to breathe. Here is what the first week's note card had written on it:

AF homework for Chapters 8, 9, 10, 28 due by 17th
Prep U quizzes for Chapters 8, 9, 10, 28 due by 17th
Study for Exam #1 on July 22 covering Chapters 1-5, 8-10, 28 Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday
   (3 Chapters each day with Monday as a review day)
Notebook outlines for ATI Chapters 2, 6, 9, 16, 17, 32 due by the 17th
Look ahead to skim next week's chapters and ATI outlines

Now, was everything due on the 17th? No. But that is when I wanted to be finished so that I could study and move on. Not to mention, I had plans for this weekend (that all got rained out incidentally). 

So, while I feel like I am doing a ton of work during the week, I don't feel overloaded because I have my weekly goals. I can see what needs to be done this week, next week, and so on. If I get things done early, then that is fantastic. I move on and start tackling things for the following week. 

The very last thing I ever want to do is think things are going well, and that I will have plenty of time to complete assignments when I don't or won't...or we get thrown a surprise assignment or project. It happens all the time, and I will not be freaked out by it. 

There is a bit of nervousness about the test tomorrow, but overall, I feel prepared and confident. I am sticking to my goals, making head way, and being very organized. Hopefully this organization will help lesson the stress, frustration, and overall freaked-outed-ness that happens in school every semester. 

Oh and by the way...I found out Thursday that I got $1,000 scholarship. Did I mention that?! YEAH!!!!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lemonade Stand and Bake Sale prep

My friend's children and my kiddos are getting together to have a Lemonade Stand and Bake Sale tomorrow to benefit the SPCA of Brazoria County. Hopefully, it doesn't rain, but it is storming now, so odds are it will be pouring tomorrow. 

Anyway, we are prepping for it just in case it isn't raining. 

This morning, I ran all of my errands quickly and set up the kids with craft supplies to make signs. They did a great job!

Then this afternoon, we decided to make homemade doggy treats. Jansen was in charge of these. 

They turned out great!

So we hope, hope, hope that the rain holds off tomorrow. It will be such a wonderful learning experience for these kiddos to practice planning an event, holding it and dealing with customers, and then donating the money to the SPCA. Giving back and helping others is something so important that I want to emphasize with my kids.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I got a scholarship!!!!

Hello everybody!

Things are going well in nursing school so far. The first full week is in the books and I am adjusting to the amount of material and my lack of energy. 

Dang, I am tired!

But, it's pretty fun. I like school. I like to be organized. I like to make lists and mark things off. I like to do well in school. 

The awesome part is that I have created some super helpful weekly note cards that I taped on the wall next to my desk at home. Each card has a weekly goal regarding reading, homework, quizzes, outline requirements, online videos, and study times. It's working so well!

Is it a lot of work? Yes. Am I going to make it? For sure!

But I logged onto my college website to check on tuition fees for the Fall. I noticed that I had a credit of $500, which is AMAZING!!! When I got home from school this afternoon...this was in my mailbox...

I got a $1,000 scholarship for this year. That is such a blessing! Every little bit helps to pay for school whether it be $5 or $5,000. 

I am super excited. Not only did I finish all of the work listed on my note card for the week, but I got some moolah for tuition. Can my day get any better?! Nope!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nursing school day 1

Thursday was my first official day in nursing school. Let me tell ya, was a doozy. 

The second summer session includes Introduction and Fundamentals of Nursing as well as what school calls, "Nursing Boot Camp". It's going to be an adventure.

It was the first day so they had to get all those first day things out of the way. There are 22 of us in our cohort, which I think is a really great number. It's not too big that you get lost in the shuffle, but it's not too small either. 

This is how I started my day...

I had a lot of nervous excitement, my mind was full of questions, and was just overall ready to get this show on the road. 

Upon arrival, we have assigned seats. Each table has little cubicle dividers on the table top and our names are taped to the front. The professor says it is more for her to learn our names, but I actually like it. It's our own little space for the remainder of the course. 

The class room has a refrigerator for us to put our lunches in, we have a coffee machine, and enough styrofoam cups to last until the apocalypse. 

So first things first...we signed in. She handed out all of the forms we needed to start out...syllabus, calendar, assignments, etc. Then she told us to come pick up three more books...for a total of 5 books for this summer course. 

As we went over the expectations, I started to get a bit nervous. We are in class until August 14th and we are going to get through 46 chapters!!! Oh my. We have a test every week...on Tuesdays. Every day we have homework assignments due. Those are based out of our giant Fundamentals of Nursing book. 

Then we have the ATI texts. 

Those are the orange Pharmacology and yellow Community Health nursing books. There is also a red one not pictured but it is the same size as the orange one. It's currently in my car because I took it with me to Jansen's tennis lessons last night so I could work on it. Anyway, the red book is the one we are to use to create our notebook. The notebook is to consist of an outline for each chapter and the answers to the end of chapter questions. Those are due almost every day. The first 6 chapters are due next week. 

Then we have ATI assignments on the ATI website. We added about 13 virtual classes to that site in class and will be completing and turning those in by August 12th. I haven't started those yet incidentally. 

We also have something called a Concept Map, which due dates will be assigned at a later date. 

We have an Ethics project/presentation due in August.

And my favorite little piece of confusing information...the Prep U. Our big text book came in a bundle with something called Coursepoint. This is basically just an online version of the text with extra study features. It includes quizzes. Now these aren't your standard "for a grade" quizzes. 

For each chapter, there are practice quizzes. We must take the quizzes until we reach a mastery level of 5. The quizzes are different every time. These are for a grade. So it seems like an automatic grade in the end...but the kicker is, it could take 5 quizzes or 25 quizzes to get a ML of 5. Case in point, I started Chapter 1 yesterday and had to take 9 quizzes before I got to a ML 5!!! This is going to take forever!!! But in the end, it is a great way to study and cement these concepts in our I see why they require it. 

We then had to meet up with someone we didn't know, get to know them for about 10 minutes, and then present them to the class. A fun getting to know you game. 

The Coursepoint rep came to show us how to navigate all the online stuff. 

The director of the nursing program came to hand out our background check info. 

We added all the online courses to the laptops that they rent out to us. 

We signed a bunch of papers, and then called it a day. 

By the time I got home, I had so many things swirling in my head that I had to get started. I came home and started reading and outlining. 

So all in all, the first day was good. Full of information, but good. I am excited to be in the program and see the other juniors in our cohort. It's going to be an adventure for sure!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Nursing school orientation

Today was nursing school orientation. 

While they didn't give us tons of information, they gave us enough to make me feel a bit better about starting school on Thursday. 

I was getting a bit nervous since my scrubs hadn't come in, my books hadn't come in, and we had no idea what was going on...but things are looking up. 

My scrubs came in and a friend sewed the patches on...

My books just came in today so I have one extra day to get the first 5 chapters read in time for Thursday. 

We got our handbook, signed a bunch of paperwork, and reviewed all the things we needed for the first day. That makes me feel a bit more prepared. 

The only thing I still need to do is to get my drug test, which is scheduled for Friday, get my nursing badge, complete my background check, and schedule an appointment with my credit union for Fall tuition. 


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

As usual, my husband was working on the 4th this year. 

The boys and I spent the evening with my parents, eating hot dogs and popping fireworks. 

We kept it really small this year and I am ok with that!

Hope your 4th was filled with family, friends, and freedom!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Kid-made owl cupcakes

In an effort to keep the children busy and creative, we...or actually they made the cutest owl cupcakes.

The boys picked out some of the new Funfetti icings and cake mixes, and Caleb chose....

Jansen chose....

and they agreed on....

What a fun time for them and it teaches me to step back and let them get a bit messy. Ok, a lot messy. Ugh...but they have to learn and they have to clean up their messes!

So here is the process for Jansen. They practiced the "icing with a knife" technique instead of piping technique that Jansen is already pretty good at. 

Caleb had so much fun! He actually said, "Thank you mom for teaching me how to ice cupcakes! This was fun!" 

Mission accomplished. 

They turned out so super cute!!! We are going to take these over to my friend's house this evening for a dinner/playdate. The kids are really excited. :)

Linking to: DIY by Design, Wow Me Wednesday

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Porch addition

While in Bandera visiting the in laws a few weeks ago, we saw this sign at a little shop on the side of the road. 

Don't you love those type of places? I love to negotiate and road side shops are the perfect place to do so. 

My husband told me he wanted to negotiate and asked me to wait for him in the car. 

He came back with the sign, so it must have gone well. 

For those of you who are not familiar with Texas A&M (my love and alma mater) "Howdy" is the accepted greeting there. It's a tradition and it is a sign of the friendliness of our campus. Many times, walking on campus, you would hear "Howdy Y'all" coming from at least 4 different people. 

It was either coincidence or fate that I was also wearing my favorite A&M shirt that day, so I had to give a thumbs up, Gig 'em!!!

It was perfect to go go along side my old rusty A&M sign my parents got for me for Christmas. 

So today, my husband hung both pieces on our porch.

I am in LOVE!!!

This is me in a nutshell. I love my Aggies and I love these signs!! 

Feeling the financial burden...

First, let me state that my family is blessed and fortunate. My husband has a great, steady job that provides him with a good deal of overtime, especially now since they are really short-handed. And, have I ever mentioned that my husband is a work-a-holic?? He is. He subscribes to the life theory of "Go big or go home", while I subscribe to the "Less is more" theory. We don't butt heads over finances because he earns it, and I manage it...for the most part. 

Anyway. The way things work in our family is that the hubs works and gets direct deposit. Some of the bills are in his name, but most are in mine. Once he gets paid, I tell him how much money I need to cover the bills and he transfers the money over. The rest, he takes care of. I don't ask any questions. We have money to cover our bills and some money to play with. 

But no matter how closely you budget, stuff happens. 

Well, friends, stuff has happened. 

During the month of June, we wanted to get away as a family before school starts so we took a cruise. I know, if you don't have the money, you shouldn't go. Well that's just the thing. We had the money! 

But then we went to visit the in laws 5 hours away for three and a half days. Gasoline, food, and more gasoline!

Then all of my school stuff happened. I knew it was coming so I had saved several hundred dollars, not knowing everything that would go into it. 

Here's what went into it: 

Tuition and fees, 3 books, 2 scrub tops, 2 scrub bottoms, 1 scrub jacket, 2 pairs of black tennis shoes, (one for class and one for clinicals) a pen light, 2 badge reels, a USB, a big package of new socks, gel inserts for my shoes, basic school supplies (binders, folders, notecards, highlighters etc) and a physical examination and blood work from my doctor. I still need to buy a really supportive sports bra!

Also in June, all my medical bills from my hysterectomy rolled in. We seriously have 7 different payments from 7 different entities related to that whole deal: A hospital bill, a surgeon bill, a surgeon's assistant bill, an anesthesiologist bill, a radiology bill, and an ultrasound bill. 

You get $10, and you get $10, and you get $10...everybody gets $10 until it gets paid off. 

Summer activities associated with the kids' extracurriculars have begun. We pay about $70 a week for tutoring and for tennis (to get Jansen active and involved) in addition to the camps that are going on. 

Somehow it timed just right in that June was also the month of Caleb's quarterly psychiatrist visit...which is a Specialist charge of $50 and his medication for the quarter is $110. 

June was also the month of dentist visits, which resulted in an orthodontist consult for braces for Caleb. Thankfully the consultation was free, but the next appointment for X rays and molds is over $200 due July 7th, and a few weeks after that, the braces go on, and our deposit of $525 is due. We have dental insurance that will cover $1500 of the braces, and so our portion is costing us $133 a month for the next 20 months. 

Props to me, because I started buying school supplies and back to school clothing in May. WHOOP! The only thing I still need to buy for both boys is about 10 folders. Caleb still needs 3 pairs of jeans and a hoodie. Jansen just needs a couple more shirts and shorts. 

BUT... yesterday, I got an email from Caleb's band director at school that contained a list of extra things he will need once school starts; and extra binder, dividers, page protectors, a padlock, an instructional manual, and something else...for the life of me, I can't remember. We already bought a second hand trombone that the director checked out to make sure it would be appropriate. 

And our grocery bill is a bit higher since the hubs and I are doing low carb. I am couponing, menu planning, and stretching three meals a day. 

So needless to say, things are really tight right now. Everything just hit us all at once. My husband, the spender, is even stressing about it. He is going to be working some major over time to cover everything and to build up some savings again. Once Fall semester rolls around, I can get my student loan to cover the rest of nursing school, so that is a load off. 

Life is expensive. I am excited to finish school so that I can start earning money again. Heavens knows, the boys will be older, will be needing more orthodontic work, they'll be looking at high school and all the activities that go with that, they'll be driving, they'll be looking at college...we will need another income!