Saturday, August 29, 2015

First week of Senior year down

We have come to the end of the first week back at school for both the kids and myself. It has been quite successful for us all, I must say. 

Now, my nursing school has been a struggle. Yes the material is difficult. Yes, nursing school is stressful. Yes, it is intense. But my program has been quite disorganized, which is the thing that has stressed me the most. I feel like our program could be so much better with a few tweaks. 

Well, all last year our class was sort of the guinea pigs. They would try things, make us buy things, take things away, just see what would work and what wouldn't. I hate that!

But this year, now that several people have left the program, we have a new program director, new clinical coordinator, and several new teachers. This all happened about 2 weeks before the Fall semester began, so they have all been working furiously to get things lined up for us. Things aren't set in stone yet, but already I feel so much better about the program. We don't have a schedule yet, but that's ok. 

Tentatively, we are in skills and clinical on Mondays and Wednesdays and some out rotations on Tuesdays. Thursdays are class days for Meg Surg 2 and 3, with some additional practice in the afternoon. We are off on Fridays. 

So far, I showed up to school Monday with a total stomach ache. We had no idea what was going to happen. But, the professor that made me cry my first semester, who is incredibly amazing and has so much information to offer, is now our full time clinical instructor. She had designed a full day with our professors to review and repractice our skills all day Monday. Then Wednesday, we were to complete 4 major skills in groups in front of the professors for an informal check off. We did foley catheter insertion and removal, nasopharyngeal suctioning and trach care, IV insertion and fluid administration, central line dressing changing, and nasogastric tube insertion, suction, and removal.

 It was so nice to be able to practice, ask questions, have demonstrations, and not be ridiculed but guided. She then sent us an email with our schedule for next week, and attachments with instructions and information to study. She is almost finished with our clinical schedule which I hope to get next week so I can plan. But I left feeling so much better about our program. We aren't just teaching ourselves or watching youtube videos. We had direction. It was awesome. 

I am cautiously optimistic about what is to come this semester. SPring semester will just be our preceptorship semester. We must complete 30 12 hour shifts before graduation in May. 

So one week down, and 14 more to go for this semester. YAY!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

First day of school for all!

It was the first day of Senior year for me, 7th grade for Caleb, and 5th grade for Jansen and it was a success.

These kids were so excited. Mom? Not so much. But all's well that ends well, so I can't complain.

I love these sweet faces!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Happy School Year's Eve!

My boys and I start school tomorrow, so with a lot of things going on, I wanted to get a little something for them the day before...School Year's Eve.

I am the queen of keeping a bunch of stuff to reuse or use for other things, so I had all of these decorations left over from previous events. 

Both my kiddos will be at Clute Intermediate this year, so a Clute Cougar theme it is!

And here are a few pictures of them from their class orientations. 

I can't believe it is already school time. I feel like I never had a break, maybe because I didn't. But I guess it's now or never. Eight more months until graduation!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Vacation Day #4

Monday morning was our final official full day in Orlando and we didn't really have any plans. 

Josh and I had talked about going to Lego Land, but then after realizing how much the kids dislike amusement park rides, we scratched that idea. We were sunburned from the day before so going to the beach was not an option. Josh wanted to go to Kennedy Space Center and I thought that was a great idea. This was something educational, but still fun and would take up a big chunk of our day. 

First stop...Shoney's for breakfast. As a child, we always went to Shoney's for breakfast when we were on vacation. Unfortunately, only certain states have them anymore. Fortunately, Florida has them! 

After breakfast, we headed out for the hour drive to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. The only down side to this was that I was not prepared for KSC. I was not aware that a good portion of this was an outdoor thing, so I didn't pack sunscreen, snacks, water, and I had mentally prepared for air conditioning so I had fixed my hair and had a full face of makeup on. All that went out the window!

This was such an interesting trip. It's amazing how human beings were smart enough to create something that can put us into outer space. 

We went into the first exploration building and saw the beginnings of space program.

Outside we saw all of the rockets...

There was a building full of Florida history...

and then we went to hear an actual astronaut's presentation. A female astronaut! I loved hearing her perspective. It was so empowering to hear her point of view and see how she overcame gender inequalities. How cool is that!?

Then we got in line to take the 2 hour bus tour that took us to see the launch pads, crawlers, construction buildings etc. 

We were part of a recreation of the Apollo 8 launch in 1968. Our seats vibrated, the windows shook, a fog filled the was super cool. 

Then we went into a museum of sorts that had so many of the actual artifacts from the space program. It was fascinating to see all these pieces of history. 

We rode the bus back to the main campus to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. Holy crud! Amazing. We loved it!

By the end of this, we were exhausted. We hadn't had anything to drink since breakfast and I was getting pretty cranky, so we stopped at the gift shop and got some waters. Thank the Lord. And, as usual, 10 minutes into the drive back to Orlando it started pouring. 

Once back at the hotel, we were done. We were ready to pack up and get back home. Our flight left the next day at 6:25am, so we had to get up at 3am. We were out the door and in the car by 3:18, dropped off the rental car, and checked in. 

I must say, I was very disappointed in the process back. We flew United, which was good going there, but a mess coming back. At 4am, we were at the kiosks with all the other passengers checking in to get our boarding passes and drop off luggage. Not one employee was there to take our bags. Seriously, if you are going to have flights leaving early in the morning, you need to have employees there that early. We waited and waited and I finally grabbed some other airline's employee and she checked my bag. 

Then we got in the security line. Only 1 of 8 lanes were open. We waited for almost an hour in that line!!! An HOUR! Then we got to the terminal and nothing was open for breakfast. Nothing. After waiting for one food place to open, I was able to get a blueberry muffin and a water. Once we boarded the plane, it was so old. It has no power outlets to charge anything, no screens for movies, music, games, nothing. The seat belt just barely buckled over me and it was close to not buckling over Jansen. 

We did fly over a rainbow...

But we made it. We were back in Houston at 7:30am, grabbed my bag fairly quickly, found our car in the garage and hit the road home. Barring some traffic on 59 by Minute Maid Park, we had an uneventful drive home. 

It was a bit of a hectic trip, but looking back on it, it was fun. We learned a lot about our kids. We learned that we are really cruise people. Vacation starts immediately on a cruise. Our kids are not amusement park kids. They actually do better in more "adult" environments. They acted the best at The Palm restaurant and have little old they were not into riding rides. They loved the Kennedy Space Center. Yeah, from now on out, we will cruise. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Vacation Day #3

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!!

We made it to Sunday! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was calling our names so our butts were up early. It was the longest wait we had the entire trip for the bus, since this attraction is just so popular. But I really can't complain about a 15 minute wait, right?!

Upon arrival back to the park, we decided to start off at Hogsmeade, which is in the Islands of Adventure. It was a seriously long walk to get there, but we thought we could start off there, ride a ride or two, get some wands at Ollivanders, and then ride the Hogworts Express to Universal Studios to Diagon Alley. 

Good choice!

We walked right up to Hogwarts, which does not allow the Express Pass. 

The hour early entrance was eaten up by waiting in this line. We waited almost 45 far the longest wait time. The kids were not excited to go on this ride, but one of the workers assured us that this was not a rollercoaster. It was just a simulation. Simulation? It was very very real. 

The kids kept their eyes closed through most of it. We were hanging there and I just kept thinking about how I should have worn tennis shoes that day because I felt my flip flops slipping off. I was squeezing my toes for dear life! But it was a fun ride!

Then we grabbed some $4 waters because it was so freaking hot at 9am and got in line to go into Ollivanders for some wands. Oh this was so cool. 

We weren't able to take pictures inside as the wands chose the children, but it was cool. And I don't even like Harry Potter. My kids ended up with 2 interactive wands... at $50 a piece...but it was the thing that the boys wanted most. 

Jansen ended up with the Wand of Hazel...

And Caleb ended up with the Wand of Hawthorn...

I would highly recommend the interactive wands for just about $10 more than the regular wands because it comes with a map of the park and shows places with golden medallions where the kids can practice their spells to make things move. 

The kids loved it. It was like a treasure hunt. Some of the wand movements were a little tricky but with practice, the kids got it and were really happy with the results!

We rode the Hogwort's Express, which was so cool. 

We had our own train compartment and the windows were holographic so it was like a ride in itself. I would have taken pictures of that but for some reason, my phone crashed as we got on and took about 30 minutes to come back to life. I was scared for a minute. 

Once at Diagon Alley, we found more medallions to cast more spells. 

It was so packed, and the kids were over riding rides so we were finished there by 11am. 

As we made our way back to the front, Josh asked if we wanted to grab a bite to eat before we left. 

Um, yes!

We ate at the Cowfish...and we all loved it. I got sushi, which was delicious, and everyone else got burgers. It was nice to sit in the air conditioning and enjoy a meal. 

It started raining again just as we were leaving, but thankfully we didn't get stuck in it. 

The boys and I went back to go swimming, relax by the pool a little, and enjoy the afternoon once the rain cleared. It was great! 

That night was our big surprise for the kids. Several years ago, we took a trip to Dallas and took the boys to Medieval Times. It was, by far, their favorite experience. Florida has a Medieval Times in Kissimmee, so we got tickets and didn't tell them. We drove for almost an hour out there, and when we turned into the castle parking lot, the kids started cheering!

The boys picked out flags to support the red and yellow knight and each picked out a weapon. What is better for a boy than a weapon....nothing!

Jansen was just beside himself!

I'm telling you. I am totally an adult but I LOVED it. 

The food was awesome and the show was so entertaining. 

At one point, our knight won one of the competitions and started to throw carnations into the audience. He threw one to me and it landed in my cleavage. That's how I roll!

It was the perfect way to end the day. Our knight made it to the finals but didn't win, unfortunately. So much fun!

Stay tuned for Monday's excitement!