Monthly Archives: August 2014

Saturday in the park

We had planned a quick trip to Des Moines Iowa, mostly to visit the Capitol building, but I was tired and it would be a 6+ hour drive each way so we will save that for later. Instead we made a trip to the library to restock on books. After that we made our way back to the rocket park. The kids played while we read for an hour or two. Soon they were asking to read too so we headed home. At home we pulled out our dinning room furniture (camp chairs) onto the lawn. We sat in the shade of a big tree in the back yard and read until nearly dinner time. The girls had quit reading by then and had found a monarch missing a few legs to carry around on their finger as a pet.


IMG_0233.JPG They played in and around us. We were all just together, and enjoying being together. After dinner we went back out and I sat on the front porch watching Hannah scooter around the cul de sac while Eve sorted through the rocks next to the mailbox for the prettiest rock collection. Chad and Caleb played Settlers of Catan. It was a great and restful day. I finished Born to Run and am eager to start the next book.

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Feeling Tired…

Why has the every other day, crazy-early day shifts kicked my butt this week? Maybe because I haven’t been getting to bed as early as I should. When you have a run of shifts you can recoup for one day then go exploring but if you only get one off in a row do you recoup or explore? I was so happy to find out that I would have postpartums, and less happy to do a full admit in the last hour of my shift, while still having all my couplets. And here you have to chart on every mom and every baby every hour, and one of my babies had vitals every hour. That and needing to tape report on all my patients made me stress that I wouldn’t get to something. I was just glad that she hadn’t come earlier as I would have imagined them keeping me doing the induction and my three couplets. Needless to say I was very glad to turn in my keys and phone and head for the car. A previous patient recognized me as I was walking down the hall, she called to me and waved. I ran to tell her goodbye and congratulations on cooking her little “bun” as long as she had. It is fun to be able to see on occasion that you do make a difference in people’s lives. I held the door for them as they got all of their stuff out to the car.
I’m still wiped, ready to crawl into bed and sleep for a couple of days, but it was just the reminder I needed to keep on plugging away doing what I was meant to do, even on the days I don’t feel it.

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Hiking and a day at the beach Wisconsin style

Point Beach state park was an hour drive northeast from Neenah. The drive was gorgeous, but instead of taking pictures I just soaked it in as we drove past. Cute little towns, small farms and dairies, crops and old barns, lots of them reminded me of places I’ve been in Oregon and Idaho. We weren’t sure if the hike we had selected would have views of Lake Michigan or not, so we were pleasantly surprised when we could see the lake from where we parked the car. We had to check out the beach before we headed on out on our hike.









We were so excited for our first good hike since leaving Oregon (New Mexico was just too hot). We headed out.



We weren’t more than a half mile in when the mosquitos discovered the new meal walking through. We stopped and coated ourselves with a kid friendly mosquito repellent. Heading back out on the trail we found this big guy. So cute, I love beetles!





The scenery was great, it was so beautiful. The kid friendly repellent didn’t hold up to the barrage so we had to cut the hike short which we were all bummed about. That did leave a lot of extra time for playing on the beach.






After our late lunch Chad walked up the beach to find the light house while the kids and I continued to play and soak in the sounds of the wind and waves. I was pulled from my happy place by a strange sound coming from the parking lot. I turned, it was a ranger and he was addressing me. “Ma’am no dogs allowed on the beach!” I looked around, and down the beach. Chad was out of sight with the car keys. All three kids were in the water. I couldn’t leave them unattended. I finally got their attention and got them up on the beach. I had the big kids sit by our stuff, and Eve walked with me up to the car (it was a ways and meant the big kids were unattended while I did this which I guess was less worry some to the officer than the dog being on the beach). Then having no keys to put Myra in the car, I tied her to the bumper and quickly returned to the 7 and 9 year old. I looked around and saw no signs that prohibited dogs on the beach in case I had missed something the first time. As soon as Chad returned I had him check on Myra and put her in the car half expecting that he would return and say that she wasn’t there only a note saying the ranger had taken her because we had been negligent in leaving her tied to the bumper of our car in the parking lot. He didn’t, she was still there and fine. We knew that you couldn’t have a dog at the public parks in Wisconsin but it didn’t cross our minds that she couldn’t be at the beach either. I sometimes have trouble with letting one little thing ruin my whole day and it had been such an amazing day. I have let it go now, and some day I will be better at not letting these things get to me. I do feel like Wisconsin is such a beautiful state it is too bad that it’s so dog unfriendly it has been a total turn off. We will still thoroughly enjoy our time here but hopefully living here long term is not in our future. We didn’t stay too much longer after Chad got back. But we couldn’t leave without seeing the light house.


It was another beautiful and fun walk down to the beach on the other side of the park.



These days hiking, driving, playing in the sand are more fun than the big days and major attractions but I suppose that each have their place and it is good we do a little of both.

Rawley lighthouse must be a privately owned beach house as there were vacationers lounging around it with camp chairs and towels on the back porch.



It would be a fun one to climb. The board walk to view it was also fun.









We drove a different route on the way back home through more cute towns.





IMG_0563.JPG We came home to a package in the mail from Donna’s cousin Patty.


IMG_0566.JPGwe love it! So fun. Thank you Greg and Patty! Chad had declared it family movie night and had checked out a movie from the library for just this occasion. So we ate our dinner and I quickly walked Myra as the kids changed into their PJ’s and we piled in our room and watched “the Ugly Dachshund”

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Face From the Past

Yay! The day has come for a lunch date with a friend from Oregon in the nearby town of Fond du Lac. I met Kathryn, then called Cage in May of 2006 when having a D&C after my first fetal loss. She was a Midwifery student at the time and asked if it was ok to come in with me to the OR so she could watch. I was all for being someone’s opportunity to learn. I don’t know if it was a few weeks later or the next semester, but I started seeing her smiling face around the FBC in Silverton. She was a good midwife with a heart for her patients and I enjoyed working with her first as a student then as a midwife. She left Silverton for a job with less call hours, as she was planning to start a family. In June I noticed a few posts about them moving, not really paying much attention to where. It wasn’t New Mexico, I knew that. A few weeks ago I noticed a post about a Brewers game which is our local Wisconsin baseball team, so I sent off a message asking if Kathryn would like to meet for lunch sometime in the next couple of months. She did, and was just as surprised that we had both landed in the same state not all that far from each other. Wondering why I was here we talked back and forth over Facebook and discovered that she had some questions about travel nursing, because she was interested in going back to floor nursing as the 3 days/ week with no call hours is good for the growing family, she had questions about what it is like and about traveling with kids.
Ala Roma, a Yelp recommendation, ended up being a good pick and lunch was great. Chad and the kids took the opportunity to get some Chinese food.
We caught up, we talked about dreams, goals, major motivators, worries, stresses, motherhood, birth stories, educational plans, travel nursing and homeschooling. Two and a half hours later we were realized we barely touched our lunch because we were so busy talking, and we needed to get going as both of our families were waiting for us and ready to go.
Thank you Kathryn for the wonderful lunch I had a blast!


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Monday Monday

I tossed and turned all night and was still super tired when the alarm went off. It is amazing what a hot shower and bowl of oatmeal can do to make a person feel ready for the day. I had an induction and no other patients, it was going to be a good day! I seconded a delivery, and got walked through the paperwork with that (until this point I had only been the primary nurse at deliveries) in the time before my pt arrived.
My patient was awesome, a cup-half-full kind of girl who walked more laps than most patients I have ever seen. This unit has about 40 rooms and is a big circle she was making it around in 1 1/2 min. So it was easy to measure the progression of labor as the laps slowed to 4 min. and 6 min. But contractions or not she was always smiling and game to try any position. After the Jacuzzi she was ready for the epidural and as we set up I got a call from the lead (charge nurse) asking me if I would be willing to stay over four extra hours. With this patient who wouldn’t. Seriously she would work so hard through a contraction, face makeup completely smeared and then turn to me and smile as she embraced her labor as the welcome sensation that would bring her much anticipated child into her arms. I said sure. We got the epidural in, the patient situated, and the room straitened up. Another phone call came with the message that enough patients have delivered that we won’t need you to stay over. Glad because that meant I would get to go home soon, but it also meant that I would need to rush to get all my charting done on time. The night shift nurse that was taking over for me was also a traveler, working on her BSN so she could go back to school for midwifery. She had traveled all around as her kids were growing up and her husband did the homeschooling. Now with the youngest one in highschool and a little foster boy they were staying in Wisconsin for a while. She was very fun to talk to and was telling me about some of the homeschool groups in the area and that they don’t mind if you join for only a couple of months. And even a couple of activities we could do together. I might take her up on that. It was fun to talk to someone who knew exactly where I am at- Homeschool, L&D travel nursing, midwifery interest, and husbands who are/have been the stay at home homeschool dad.
We had yummy tacos for dinner. Chad was ready for a kid break so he headed out to walk around fiesta foods as the kids got ready and crawled in bed. He wasn’t gone too long. Long enough to know the kids would be in bed when he got back. Myra and I went on a short walk. Then Chad watched a few movies on his laptop with earbuds in (just for me) and I sat next to him digging a little deeper into my new book. I made it a whole two short chapters before I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

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A Sunday Drive to the Beautiful State of Michigan

Church was good. The president of a local Christian college spoke. After church the kids returned their church library books and checked out new ones and then we piled in the car. The plan was to go home where it was my turn to make sandwiches for lunch. Chad surprised me by turning to me and asking if I would like to go home and make lunch or grab something quickly on the way up north, taking a Sunday afternoon drive to the Michigan Upper Peninsula. Why sure, I love Sunday afternoon drives. And the hour and a half it would take to get to the border was nothing our road calloused behinds wouldn’t enjoy. We found a Culver’s, which is similar to Dairy Queen but specific to the area for lunch.


We think this Bus that was parked at Culver’s would make a great vehicle for our crew.

The girls quickly fell asleep after lunch, and Caleb and I focused on our books. Pretty soon Chad was announcing the cross over into the state of Michigan.


The view between houses of Lake Michigan was beautiful, and then we found a cute little beach where we could pull over, get out, and enjoy the view/warm sun/hot sand/cool breeze. The kids waded in the water and chased around the little frogs that scattered in every direction, but never could be caught.












The kids dug around in the sand for a while before we climbed back in the car.



We got home in time for dinner, and to all our surprise Superman joined us for the leftovers feast.

Then Myra and went out for our first attempt at a run. I was wishing for a bag to wear over my head. But it really did go better than I thought it would. Now time for bed. Work will come all too early in the morning.

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Saturday as it should be

A slower morning than yesterday set the tone for a restful Saturday. Caleb and I checked the mail when we walked Myra. The kids are starting to get postcards from homeschool families in each of the states as part of our CC homeschool group. In July we mailed ours out. 53 in all, as there were multiples to some of the bigger states. It could be due to all of ours having to be forwarded, but our first three came today.

Also a book came in the mail from a friend that I am super eager to read.

I grabbed it, as well as a notebook and pen when we headed out to run some down day errands. The first stop was the library. I couldn’t help but take a picture of my current hospital from across the waterway.

IMG_0427.JPG After the kids had all refilled their book bags we headed to the Saturday market in the park next door. We enjoyed the kids singing and jumping in a bouncy house while trying out a GF zucchini loaf we had purchased from one of the stands. It started to sprinkle and the kids had been jumping for a while so we decided it was time to head to the store for some grocery shopping. Every year my food-preparation talented husband makes a birthday dinner for me. Yes you are right my birthday was almost a month ago now, but we were in transit with no available kitchen so today was the day chosen for that yummy tradition. I had requested “fun” grilled cheese and tomato soup and key lime pie. We needed some basics at the house but this grocery trip was mostly for dinner tonight. Yay! After shopping we had a quick pb&j for lunch and the kids headed out to the back yard to play with their friends. I sat with my new book at the kitchen table as Chad tinkered around the kitchen. That is how we spent the whole afternoon. Chad snuck in a 30 min. nap and the shouts and laughter from through the screen door and open windows kept us tuned into what the kids were doing. What a nice relaxing day. Caleb has already read two of his thick library books. It is pretty much impossible to keep that kid in books.
Dinner was delicious with all of Chad’s hard work paying off.
Mac &Cheese grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.


Key Lime Pie for dessert



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John Hancock Observatory or not…

Chicago has been on our radar for a while, with the weather here about to change we needed to balance. It was too rainy and overcast with predicted thunderstorms to do Noah’s ark and we weren’t ready for a longer trip yet like driving up the UP (upper peninsula) see Lake Superior then drive down to Lansing and then continue around Lake Michigan to make a big circle. We had not researched much in the way of Chicago must do’s but had heard that the John Hancock Observatory was fun. Due to traffic we got into Chicago about noon. We drove around the down town area looking for public parking having very little success. We found one place and just as we were getting ready to leave they said, “there’s a dog in your car! You can’t leave a dog in your car here it’s illegal.” Frustrated we got back in our car and drove around some more wondering what we could do in Chicago with a dog. If it is anything like Wisconsin no animals are allowed in public parks. As we drove I looked up the Illinois law which stated that it was illegal to “Confine any animal in a motor vehicle in such a manner that places it in a life or health threatening situation by exposure to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from such heat or cold.” With it being an overcast day, with the windows down and a bowl if cool water we feel like it is way more humane to have Myra with us than shut up in the house at home every time we go out. We found a public parking structure near down town and backed into our parking space. Knowing that we were not violating any laws because there was ventilation, fresh water, and no sun light intensifying the heat in the car, (I know some of my friends may get mad at me for this) we walked to the Observatory, now called Chicago 360. The cost would be 12 per child 18 per adult 26 for parking totally $98 to see Chicago from the observatory. I’m sure it is worth it but it was quite a line, and the kids weren’t that excited about going up either, so we bagged it for today and will hopefully get to do it when they are a little older. We drove by the Navy Pier several times and that looked fun. We had no plan but we were formulating a plan for next time. We decided on an early dinner of Chicago deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s Pizzaria. To our surprise they had GF pizza as well, which we weren’t counting on. Noticing we were only 15 miles from Indiana and 34 miles from Gary Indiana we decided to go there, in honor of the music man and adding another state to our list. The drive around that part of Lake Michigan was very pretty. Being in Indiana made me think of Michael Sherman. We were only three-ish hours from you. It would be fun to meet your family while we are in this part of the world.
















Gary Indiana



Back through Chicago just before sunset.


I know you are all sad about there being no Chicago Owens family selfie…maybe next time.

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Out as soon as my head hit the pillow

The last two days of day shift were great. It was steadily busy with no down time, got a lunch break, and was out on time. Yesterday my assignment included a labor and a high risk antepartum. The labor was a high profile, very educated woman with one of her support people being a recently retired OBGYN. It was a balancing act, but a fun one at that. I’m beginning to really enjoy the new challenges that are found in each new day. My antepartum had a really high blood pressure and I had already given her three IV pushes of blood pressure lowering IV meds, I was going over the plan of care telling her we would recheck her BP and give one more dose and then give it some time per the doctors orders. She smiled and responded with, “no you won’t because my blood pressure will be down when you recheck it.” So I told her if it was down I would do 5 push-ups in celebration. Sure enough it was down and it was fun to have the opportunity to make her laugh and smile as she and her visitor watched while I payed up with five boy push ups. It was quite a feat as I’m sadly out of shape right now. All was good. I was updating the Lead (charge nurse) on my patients status when she said I was welcome to stay over, that they were short staffed on nights and were forcing two day-shifters to stay four extra hours. I love my job, but it is physically draining and my all natural labor (besides the pit augmentation) was getting very active and going to be in need of fresh energy so I declined. But as I left I caught one if the other nurses coming out of the bathroom in the break room with red puffy eyes. I asked if she was OK and she just explained that she would be fine but she was tired of being forced to stay over she felt like it happened almost every shift and I know it has happened at least twice in the last two weeks to her. I felt guilty…they must not force travelers to stay extra. Maybe I should pick up an extra shift every week. I have been working four days every other week in New Mexico and it wasn’t that bad. Here they treat travelers so nice, everyone has been so nice and so helpful, saying thanks for coming and helping us out. I know if I am busy everyone else is just as busy. I didn’t stay. The kids were all playing a card game together when I got home. They make me smile as they are becoming each others best friends. After dinner I took Myra on a walk, a long walk…I felt like I was going to have to drag her to get her home about 3/4 of the way, but she made it. A tall glass of ice tea then another. It was 8:30 pm, still another hour and a half until I would have gotten off had I stayed. I climbed up to our room, got ready for bed and crashed. I think I remember my head hitting the pillow but that is it. I was out.

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St. Paul Minnesota

Capitol under construction.
The Capitol building in St. Paul was very under construction. We went halfway around the building before we finally saw where you could go in.




IMG_0297.JPG In the front you had a great view of the Cathedral on the hill opposite the Capitol.


IMG_0293.JPG There was pretty awesome views of the city as well.


IMG_0303.JPG Inside two wings as well as the dome/rotunda area were closed do to construction. Windows were boarded up furniture and clutter lined the walls and the once beautiful stenciling was faded, lacked luster and the building as a whole was dark. At 109 years of age the building was in much need of the newly commenced facelift. We still enjoyed the tour but decided it would be good to go back in 2018 when the renovations are complete.















IMG_0321.JPG Spanish ceiling tiles on the ceilings of the ground floor.


IMG_0324.JPG German themed cafeteria in the lower level, open when the House and Senate are in session.


IMG_0325.JPG the carriage entrance to keep out of the rain and snow.


We found a really cute little town to have lunch in. The food was soooooo good.






IMG_0339.JPG the scenery around here is awesome!







IMG_0353.JPG we are home not too late to get a quick load of laundry done that will include uniforms for work and try to catch some zzzzzs. After these next two days we will be three weeks into this contract (one shift shy of 1/4 of the way through it).

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