Monthly Archives: August 2014

Minnesota…Mall of America

We had made plans to go to Bay Beach today, so we all piled into the car and started up towards Green Bay. The weather report had said there was a 50% chance of rain. We only made it about five miles before it started to down pour. Not the kind of weather you want to spend all day walking around in. So, on a whim, we did a U-turn and headed towards Minnesota and the Mall of America. We were saving that trip for a rainy day and it just so happened to be a rainy day. We had all grabbed an extra set of clothes in case it rained on us while we were at Bay Beach, so if we needed to stay the night somewhere we would be set. We enjoyed the scenery and the rain after we had made the decision to head west and knew we wouldn’t be out in it all day.




Our 13th state to hit on this trip.
California (we count that since we as a family jotted down there to get my CA nursing license), Washington (our goodbye family weekend at Great Wolf Lodge), Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, and now Minnesota. Minneapolis was not too far past the boarder and only a short distance from St. Paul.
Mall of America here we come!















It was a fun day. Although we didn’t ride any of the rides or visit the aquarium under the mall, so it was kind of like visiting Disneyland and staying in the village looking in but never actually going in. The rides were about $10 per person, per ride, so it would cost our family $50 a ride. I’d rather save up and go to Disneyland.
Now for a restful night at our favorite pet friendly hotel chain so we can visit the Capitol building in the morning.

Categories: Family Time, food, Fun, kids, Road Trip, Travel, wisconsin | 1 Comment


Today was an awesome day at work. I stayed caught up on my charting and am getting a lot better at Epic by the day. It was such a relief to get home from work on time for the first time this assignment. The kids have been working really hard on their new career as Lego pattern designers and Caleb asked me at bedtime if we could write a letter to the Lego company so that might be something we work on this week. I didn’t get a picture of Caleb’s space ship but I wasn’t even all the way on the door when Hannah, showing me her “project,” asked if I would take a picture so here is her’s.


Chad is eagerly planning for the school year and made our first curriculum purchases for the 2014-2015 school year.

Categories: Fulltime, kids, Travel Nursing, working | Leave a comment

1/3 done… With the weekend

I started with all post partums this morning so I was pleasantly surprised. Three, then another, two discharges then trade off for an admit induction.
Off only 40 min. late and no lunch (I don’t think anyone got a lunch today). I did some things a lot better and some thing’s I grimace to think how much better I could have done them, with a little less on my plate. This exercise in time management and the all out nonstop physical aspect of this job are a welcome challenge. I feel a lot less physically exhausted today my legs aren’t throbbing, they are getting accustomed to the pace. The pounding headache is most likely a lack of food issue the pizza we had for dinner should help that. The kids welcomed me home (up past their bed time to do so). I came in to find a birthday package on the table from my Mom-in-law which contained comfy clothes, sweatpants, two tank tops, and a sweatshirt. I quickly ran upstairs to change out of my uniform into my new comfy clothes. Chad headed out and picked up dinner, a celebratory GF pizza for payday.


Thank you Chuck and Donna for the birthday gift and the kids love their little ” I love you” (as Hannah called it) gifts too!

Categories: Family Time, food, Fulltime, Fun, kids, wisconsin, working | Leave a comment

A Lazy day at the Park

Today we found the library here in Neenah, got a library card and checked out some books then we headed to a park Chad found online that had unique play equipment.



We had a picnic lunch and the kids played for close to 5 hours.


20140814-203612-74172034.jpg In the mean time Chad and I read, wrote letters, and did some drawing. The perfect day of rest before I head into three presumably busy shifts over the weekend.
As I was getting ready to write this post I noticed that an article I wrote for The Gypsy Nurse was linked to our website, it is about preparing your family for travel and I thought you may enjoy reading it so I am going to try to put in a link to the article. Preparing Your Family for Traveling

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Wisconsin Capitol Building in Madison

We quickly worked to get ready for the day and on our way to Madison.

The directions from Neenah were nearly a strait line, and as you can see, even once in Madison there were no turns necessary. Only drive straight, straight to the Capitol.

There were two other Oregonian cars in the visitor parking structure. We appreciated this guy’s plates.

Our now-tradition of the Capitol building family selfie.



The building was fabulously beautiful, and seemed short after the Illinois Capitol building. I liked its all granite exterior. The inside had marble from several different states and six countries. A lot of which have since been quarried to extinction making them completely priceless.






The park or Capitol grounds were filled with people at lunch time eating their lunches in small groups and office people out on walks for exercise. It made the Capitol feel more accessible and an actual part of the daily lives of Wisconsin’s people.

The Capitol is nearly surrounded by water as there are lakes on either side with a fairly skinny land bridge between on which the Capitol has been built.

20140813-212141-76901214.jpg The resources of Wisconsin painting from before it was the dairy state.

Our guide.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will be in session while we are here and the public may attend the cases.

We got to sit in the senator’s seats and Caleb, by chance, sat in the seat of the head senator (I forgot the actual title for this position).

I love the skylights.


The senator’s parlor.


Down on the floor of the House of Representatives.

I’m ready to vote.
Here is a picture of Old Abe a Wisconsin Civil War mascot

It is actually a Jr. The original one burned in the Capitol fire in 1904. But this one has been sitting on this perch since abound 1908 and is an actual taxidermied bald eagle that a farmer found dead in a field and brought in to the Capitol as a reminder of the real hero of The Civil War.



There were beautiful views of the city from the fourth floor observation deck.

20140813-214453-78293969.jpg Also another surprise was a hidden away museum up in the Capitol not too far below the dome.












We found a park by which we could enjoy the water and let the kids get out some energy.





This little guy kept walking circles around my bracelet over and over again.


We sat under a chestnut tree which made us think about Aunt Vicki and Uncle John.




Myra and I went for a walk after dinner. The scenery is so different here than in New Mexico both beautiful. I enjoyed Myra’s quiet companionship and the time by myself to process the day, life, goals, my Jesus and the big picture.






Out of our reading from “Pilgrims Progress” today. I know this is true and may I take it to heart and remember it when I am making little decisions all day, big decisions, when I am going through hard places, and when I am tempted to take the easy way out.


Categories: Family Time, Fun, kids, Road Trip, Travel, wisconsin | Leave a comment

Sweet Success

4:15 doesn’t feel as early as I expected it to feel. And it sure is nice to be half way done with the shift before noon.
Today was my first shift off orientation, all on my own. I got to work early so I would have time to get prepared for my assignment. Something new again, two preterm labor patients on mag. I felt like I was keeping up until 2:00 pm when the triage pt I had been monitoring for four hours got admitted. With three busy preterm patients I was barely keeping afloat so when I had to stop and do a full admit on the triage the charting snowballed on me. I could barely stop long enough to chart what was currently being done so no back charting got done until I was relieved by the next shift. I didn’t sit down for more than 2-3 min. at a time besides lunch. And I didn’t get home until 7:45 pm but all in all I feel really good about how the day went. We can chalk today up as a success.

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Zoo, fun playground, and Lake Winnebago

We got a tip about a free zoo in Oshkosh, so we checked it out today.











Aren’t these guys so cute!




The kids one by one seeing how far they can jump. Caleb…


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Last and funniest Eve…




This tree gives me flashbacks to my childhood, swinging on the branches of the big weeping willow tree in Jerry and Carol Jager’s yard.

Reminiscent of the Gilbert House, was the playground adjacent to the zoo.

Hannah is such a crack up, this picture was 100% her idea.

The kids played while Chad and I sat at the shore of lake Winnebago and talked.


It was beautiful and that lapping sound of the water is always so soothing. The surf however does not at all look appealing to swim or even wade in because it is pea soup green.

There was a group of people at the park wearing green shirts that said Oregon. Chad started talking to them and discovered that they are from Salem and are here for a Pathfinder conference.

What a nice relaxing (for the most part) day. We tried out a new Sandwich shop on the way home that had Udis hogie rolls for GF sandwiches. It was fabulous although within an hour I was having some major stomach symptoms so the jury is still out on whether those two things are at all related. Now, early as it is, we are all tucked into bed because work comes early in the morning. It will be the first day by myself and I will surely be repeating these words (or song as it may more likely be) all day, “Not by my might nor by my power but by the spirit of The Lord.”

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Friendship walk in Menasha

Just a few miles from our house is a cute little park with a greenbelt of sorts called the friendship walk. We had fun checking it out. I think we walked 5 miles round trip.

That’s my guy with a pull-up in his back pocket. He is such a good daddy.





There was some stagnant water that was quite gross looking and Eve insisted it was all bird poop because of the smell, but we did enjoy the wild life swimming around in it.




20140810-201344-72824769.jpgthe houses in down town Menasha….someday I want a house like the one in the movie “Up.”

Here is a little turtle that Hannah found on our walk back.


Our first muskrat sighting. We also saw a duck family with a lot of little babies, a squirrel hiding something yummy in the gravel and lots of dragonflies. It was a fun afternoon.


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Night shift curveball

My first night shift, yay! Maybe that will make me feel more in my element. I got to work in plenty of time to thoroughly examine my report sheet and discover that I had been given one postpartum mag patient and two GYN surgical patients. Just when I though I might have a night where I felt like I was in my element. Those new procedures and monkey wrenches were my monkeys and my circus. With yet again almost no down time we did manage to get in my glucometer testing, safety walk and a few on line tests as well as several other things I had not yet done. I’m glad they threw in the gyn patients while I was still in orientation at least that will give me some exposure. I’m on the fence on weather I should take them up on the extra day of orientation or just know that I am going to be a pest to the nurses around me for a while asking frequent questions. The latter is, I believe, pretty much unavoidable either way. I am going to have to make a more organized report sheet so that I can hit the floor running, and take less time to organize my brain. The night went by fast. There is no nurses station just small alcoves with one or two chairs spread around the unit. That, coupled with the other nurses being just as busy, means you don’t see the other nurses except for a few times a shift and there really isn’t any opportunity to get to know them, other than if you by chance took your lunch break at the same time and had time to chat as you ate. So it is easy to see what things are going to be hard or a challenge for me here, but there are also so many positives.
1. Epic experience (a charting system)
2. They do a lot of high risk and antepartum.
3. GYN surgical experience.
4. It is two hospitals in one with a children’s hospital containing a NICU as part of that.
5. The kids love it here and think it reminds them of Oregon. (Trade out the mountains for lakes everywhere, and it is more green here. I know many Oregonians would not think that is possible.)
6. We like the area.
7. We love the continued exposure to new cultures (including unit cultures) and ways to do things.
8. The kids are learning a lot about the geography of the United States.
9. I think Chad has made a new hobby of driving around and figuring out the town/area. I’m impressed that I have managed just this last shift to make it to work and back for the first time with out using the GPS, but he can already tell you how to find the mall, Barnes and Noble, knows the names of all the main roads, and what grocery stores carry GF bread. He is so amazing like that and he enjoys it. It is his activity to go out and get a break from his full time daddy job.
10. This assignment was hand picked for us and now we get to spend the next three months discovering why. You all know how much I love surprises.



Since we have no living room furniture yet we are trying out the couch at the mall.

The outdoor/active wear store at the mall has a whole section devoted to the Oregon Ducks.

Here is their local college team the Badgers.

But really it is all about Green Bay here and cheese heads.


Caleb and Hannah found some warm beanies for winter.

Now it’s time to relax.

Lots of love from Wisconsin.

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A day shifters nightmare come true

Maybe nightmare is too strong of a word for this mornings experience. I was in and out of consciousness this morning waiting for my alarm to go off. I was not wanting a repeat of the previous morning so I didn’t want to keep looking at the clock, the alarm would go off when it was time to get up until then I could snuggle down and enjoy my warm covers and soft pillow for just a little longer.
The came the, “Sarah, it’s after five!” In an alarming voice….what?! No! My alarm hasn’t gone off. Oh crap your right! Scrambling as quick as I could go to get in the shower and dressed. A 5:05 am wake up for a 5:30 am day shift isn’t a pretty picture and with it being my second day on this assignment (I hate to be late to anything and to be late to work is completely taboo whether it is your second day on the job or your 15th year. But at least if it’s your 15th year people are more apt to believe that your alarm didn’t go off.). I think it was a two min. Shower and I managed to brush both my teeth and hair. No time for breakfast but Chad had purchased a package of kind bars for me to take to work for on the run snacks, of which I grabbed three, my lunch bag, and water bottle as I ran for the door. I left the house at 5:15am and made it to the floor to exchange my car keys for narc keys and pick up a report sheet at 05:25. I was a bit discombobulated, but at work and on time. The shift, just as the one before, was fast paced with very little time for anything but patient care and charting. A quick lunch was squeezed in there but orientation, to taping report, the glucometer test, safety walk, and the list of online tests that needed to be completed for orientation were left completely untouched. The plus side is I was starting to get the hang of all the charting and that part of the day went well, with the nurse that I was orienting with having to do a lot less question answering and almost no charting or patient care, so I feel like that is a success. I’ve got one more day to get this all down. The kids ran to greet me when I got home, I was almost an hour late getting off work. We will have a better idea of the “normal” time to get off soon. Myra took me on a sunset walk after the kids were all tucked in with gorgeous views if the pink clouds and a reminder that I can do this, we are where we are supposed to be and it will all work out. One day at a time.


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