One of my favorite parts of being raised on a dairy farm in rural Idaho was the sheer number of births I was exposed to. I know, really, none of you are suprised. Our birth numbers were pretty impressive even compared to some birthcenters I have worked in. Between the kittens, the puppies, the piglets, and the sheep not to mention the cows. For this birth junkie I never had to look to far or for too long. I loved feeling like I was helping wether it was drying of kittens whose moms didn’t lick them as clean as they should have, holding a lamp for my mom who would place the newborn piglets on dry straw closer to the heater who were being born on a cold winter morning, or sticking straw in the nose of a newborn calf to stimulate it to breathe when that function didn’t start as spontaneously as I thought it should have. The truth be told I’m sure most of those animals would have been fine with out me and maybe a few would have even been better off 😉 I was young and just doing my part to make the world a better place. I often feel like I was given a huge priceless gift that I could never give my kids even though I often wish I could. Wednesday morning the kids got a small glimpse of at least this aspect of farm life when Cyrus’ kitty (a stray that he has been feeding) gave birth to a batch of kittens. I had woken up shortly after six and was getting dressed to take the dogs on a walk when a knock came at the door. It was our neighbor who had just come home from work and noticed that White Blueberry (that’s what Cyrus named her) was having kittens. I knocked on Stephanie’s door and relayed the news and soon all the kids were up and out to watch the birth of these new little kitten lives. Six little furry babies were born. The first little white one born wet on the cold cement did not make it, but the other five with their tiny pink ears and high pitched mews are doing quite well. They were moved to a comfy box in a safe from the kids and other animals location and the mother kitty seems to be fabulous in her new role. I continued out to walk the dogs since there was already too many people for a birth mommies comfort so Hannah was our photographer.
Mid morning after all the new additions were settled, we accompanied Stephanie to a church play date at Bush park it was fun to see some old friends. After that I made my way out to get the groceries to make an appetizer for a bridal shower. Our house is close to Target and Lindsey was registered there so I though possibly I could get away with one stop shopping. I kind of had to since Stephanie had a Dr. appointment and I needed to watch the kids. I was pleased to find jalapeños, cream cheese and bacon. It all the suddenly became way less convenient when despite the customer service representatives best efforts we were unable to access the registry. She suggested I just pick out something I like and get a gift receipt. I looked at a few things then decided I would get a date night gift card to P.F. Changs and some cute refrigerator magnets. Date nights are so important anytime but especially in the first years of marriage when you go quite suddenly from the novelty of dating and special effort to spend time together to being together with out effort needed to be spent. It is easy to feel like all the romance has gone from your relationship. Feeling pretty good about my purchase…this traveling thing has made me an anti-stuff person that may have been a factor. The cream cheese stuffed bacon wrapped jalapeños took longer to make than I thought and I found myself running a bit behind schedule. Since Chad does all of our cooking I am a bit out of practice. I seeded and viened the jalapeños, Caleb filled the halves with cream cheese and Hannah wrapped them with bacon. The first batch we baked at 400 degrees for 20 min. Then put them back in for another 10….it wasn’t supposed to take that long per Chad. The second batch we turned the oven to broil since the problem with the first batch was that the bacon didn’t get as crispy as I wanted it to. The second batch came out crispy and perfect in about 8 min. So much better than the first batch and soon enough that I was only going to be fashionably late. A tad underdressed and in my brother-in-laws older truck I headed out excited to spend even more time with my FBC family. It is amazing what can go through your head in 28 minutes. I went from the top of the world happy to be part of this celebration of a fellow nurse that I couldn’t be more proud of and her stands on maintaining a God honoring relationship better that Chad and I had been at protecting eachother from the temptations that come when you love and are so physically attracted to your amazing soon to husband. As I got closer I worried about what people would think of my non traditional gift better suited for the actual wedding than the shower. What about my car, I was so glad to have the chance to use my brother-in-laws truck since Chad had ours in Portland as he was attending a class. All the sudden it was front and center in my mind that it didn’t compare to the world’s view of a successful person and maybe even quite the opposite…were my appetizers good enough. Good grief. Serious rain on my parade. Such an upfront attack of fear about what these people that I love and I know love me would think of me. By the time I arrived I was feeling self conscious but willing to take the risk. Nothing worth doing is with out risk and the rest of my life is about not letting fear stop me from doing what I feel like we are called to do why would this be different? The appetizers were quickly well recieved and I guess it would have been fine even if they hadn’t. Of course the self conscious feeling was never completely shaken. I hadn’t planned on staying late but it was fun to sit around the fire and listen to those around me. I don’t drink and was a lot more up tight than everyone else but it was fun to just sit and listen and not have to talk about myself. I was asked for my marriage advice and let’s face it I organize my thoughts way better on paper than in verbose elegance. Thank you Lindsey for loving me just the way I am. Everytime I spend time with you I come away with a new drive to always do my best and love others until it hurts. Maybe someday I will be as thoughtful of a gift giver it’s not my love language I guess I just need more practice.
I never know quite what to title these posts as this is pretty much a summary of our work week in a nutshell. This week I was scheduled Sunday, Monday, Tuesday day shift. Sunday was one of those days where all the mommies come in with their water broke who knows what the barametric pressure change was but there must have been an environmental factor. It was a kind of fun change of pace to take an ambulance ride to Eugene and back. (I enjoyed, later in the week, talking to the manager at Silverton FBC finding out that since we can’t transport a non stable patient and to date they had never had an ambulance delivery, they no longer send an RN on maternal transports unless medically the patient needs the advanced level of care.) I was under the impression that once a patient presented to a certain level of care (RN) we could not pass them off to a lower level of care (paramedic, although paramedics are awesome they are not a fan of obstetric emergencies) it makes sense and it would have made staffing the unit much easier as we called all employed RNs to try to get an additional pair of helping hands. No worries though it all worked out just fine. Monday had a record number of out patients: triages, NSTs, and follow up newborn appointments. It went so smoothly the nursing team worked like a well oiled machine. Tuesday promised to be busy with a few scheduled procedures and for sure the clock was kind to us as we were continuously on our feet with every room full the minute hand may as well have been a second hand. The day flew by, steady but not insane. The manager came up from her office and helped with a discharge and NST. She, a midwife and the nurse that was on with me were working out the details of a nursing conference then turned their focus on housing for me saying, “What can we do to get you to stay here? We are going to find you housing!” I am really enjoying this assignment so far. I hate to allow myself to feel that way this early when I am still in the honeymoon phase, but I do. The nurses, the manager, the providers, the unit. They are not only happy people who enjoy their job, they are passionate about providing a positive birth experience promoting family autonomy by supporting their choices in a loving non judge mental way that I have not experienced since leaving Silverton.
Housing continues to be an adventure and we have pretty much given up on housing and embraced the hotel lifestyle. Chad’s mom gifted us a crockpot and Chad has dove whole heartedly into the challenge of preparing all of our dinners with this food artist’s medium. Breakfast of cold cereal or oatmeal the fixing for sandwiches for lunch have managed to be great meal options as well. Who would have thunk it… A mini fridge and crockpot could be sufficient to keep and feed a family of five for four days every week. The fact that Chad has happily taken on this challenge has relieved a lot of stress off of me. Meals out plus hotels each night would have quickly broke our budget. As much as money is not our primary motivator for working as a travel nurse family. We can’t exactly afford to spend more on living than we are bringing in, really who could?
Chad is a certified carpet cleaner which is a notable accomplishment it requires a lot of classes and continuing education credits to maintain. He was due to take a few credits to remain certified so he had been scheduled for a water damage restoration class this week in Portland too. As a one car family we were thinking of every option to manage my work schedule and Chad’s class schedule being three and a half hours apart. Not to mention what would we do with the kids? Chad and the kids stayed with me until Monday he then reserved a room for me in a hotel with in walking distance and then headed back to Salem where Stephanie offered to help us by watching the kids. Eve declared that she has always wanted a four or five year old brother follows by a, “Cyrus, will you be my brother?” (Thank you Steohanie and Jayson for all of your help especially with the kids.) After work I walked to the hotel and crashed then got up early got ready walking to Dutch Brothers on the way to work for a Coconut Dutch Freeze breakfast. The sunrise was beautiful! I was thankful to get to witness it. Mary Beth came and picked me up after work we enjoyed dinner at the Tiki on 51st for dinner, my treat. Ahi wraps and a wicked mocha with extra cayenne…Onolicious!!! As always and perhaps more than usual we enjoyed our time together and conversation. Thank you Mary Beth for coming and picking me up I loved the quality time.
We loved the beautiful flower baskets by the Tiki on 51st.
Donna, my mother-in-law, has been asking for the last couple of weeks for a girls date so she can take the girls to Build-A-Bear. She had been wanting to take them since we were in Disneyland in January. Chad joined us making it a whole family ordeal (Caleb’s still at camp). At Washington Square we walked to the far end of the mall before we discovered that it was under construction and not currently open. On to Clackamas Towne Center we went. At Build-A-Bear Hannah knew already what she wanted and Eve was quite indecisive.
The employees at Build-A-Bear were a kick in the pants so involved and good with the kids the customer service is what makes the experience. The girls were in heaven and Aunt Sarah and Uncle Chad couldn’t resist getting a toothless for Cyrus. Which he has been loving on ever since he got home from swimming lessons.
The kids (mine) gladly gave up three of their older toys as these are kind of big toys and we have to work hard not to own more than we have room for. We got our room all cleaned up too. It has been a a productive day.
Tomorrow we head back out to the beach for five days of work before heading to family camp.
Once upon a time, long long ago (9 years) I met a teen mom just out of high school with a baby only six months older than mine. She was surprisingly mature. I was completely baffled by her life story and yet she took the stand that you can’t blame other people for your actions and your consequences they may have effected your experiences but ultimately you still made choices. How could someone in her circumstances and at her age be so wise? Since that time I have so appreciated her friendship and advise with kids the same age we are monthly in conversation about budgets, homeschooling, Bible study, health, marriage. She is one of those friends I can sit down and talk to for hours and hours and hours (6 hours today). I have thanked God often for our friendship maybe someday she will let me tell her whole story. Thank you for all the laughs today you are one in a million, Michele, thanks for not letting me get away with any excuses ever. There are friends and there are good friends you know the kind that call your bluff and make you a better person. You are that friend. ❤️
Today was a scheduled Epic refresher in Albany. It made for a very short day thank goodness. We had some tears, stress related over housing this morning. Even though we know it will all work out it is not coming very easy and as of today it looks like we will be going with the most expensive route (hotels every night) just because no door we have knocked on has opened yet. I did get to visit Silverton FBC again this evening at change of shift and at the end of a staff meeting which means I got to see a lot of the nursing team not just who was on for one shift. Of course they all asked me how traveling is going and over all it is good since we are doing what we set out to do although there are so many tough aspects. Some one said, “you have to be really smart to do that!” Lol not really just willing to look like a fool.
This time the I’m nervous feeling didn’t start until we were in Newport about 12 hours out of time to start my first shift. Even at that it wasn’t too bad until the last 45 minutes. It is in these first days that I have to frequently remind myself that it is good to be outside of my comfort zone. And that in the long run the positive consequences of hard work way out weigh the ease of laziness. (This is an internal battle that I am always fighting and don’t always win.) Ariving 40 minutes early I waited in the car 10 minutes then headed in to try to find my way to L&D. A small hospital can still be quite disorienting, but I made it upstairs and to my new unit. The nurse that I will be covering for maternity leave was on, it was fun to meet her and get some idea of what my schedule will look like. We chatted for a little while as day shift arived. Everyone was friendly. We got most of the first day stuff done, name badge, door access, computer access, med system access, unit tour, scavenger hunt, first admission and delivery giving me some familiarity with the paperwork, process and a few of the providers. That is what everyone hopes their first day is like. You don’t want to go too long with out an admission or a delivery because you don’t get very many orientation days as a traveler and you have to know how to do those things (charting systems and some processes are all a little different at every hospital). I love it when people tell me it’s ok to ask questions…fair warning now I ask a LOT of questions. There is no way to learn everything in two days of orientation. 1915 came quick enough, I was definitely ready for the shift to be over. A headache was starting to creep up on me and I was eager to catch up with Chad as he had been working all day on our housing situation.
Chad picked me up out front bearing gifts from The Gluten Free Place, a delicious pineapple upside down cake.
Admitting that we may just be spending too much money there this assignment because they had tasted a few things that were all delicious and it wasn’t too far from the hospital. I have been given a huge gift in Chad as my husband, he is beyond supportive always thinking of ways to make me feel loved by doing something special for me. So, good news with an awesome GF place in town, but bad news as far as housing goes. There are a lot of private campgrounds with long term residents, but they (all the ones he drove by, talked to, called) were full. We could see empty spots on a few that we drove by Sunday but when he called they said they have no monthly spaces available. There was one (the most expensive one at $700 a month) on a paved lot with no grass say that they probably could do it, but we would have to shuffle around and move sites every week because they also were booked. We don’t want to pay that much to be in a paved lot and move around every week so, we will continue to look. We will be checking on a few more places today, as well as our next options.
With computer training in Albany on the schedule next we headed home to Salem.
I think we might have a plan now, I’m not sure if it is plan G or plan J but it is far from plan A or plan C. We packed quickly this morning. Less planning is needed when your only going two hours drive away, but still there were a few things we could not afford to forget. Attending church at our own church was amazing as always. Getting to see Aunt Bonnie and Great Grandma Brown was a special treat as well as trying out a new Sunday school class since our old newlywed and young couple class that we attended for 14 years has morphed into a much different class in the last year and a half. We attened a new class with our old classmates that is currently on a parenting series. I hope we will be able to attend enough to follow the current study. We sat in our “normal” (if you can call it that anymore) spot in hopes that we would get to sit by Dr. Dan and Robyn so I was super excited when Roby came up from behind us and slid into the chair next to me!!! Yay! It was so good to see them (our Sunday school teachers since the day after we got engaged in 2001, they came up to us at church and said, “We are starting a young married’s class. We would love to have you join us.” We have hundreds of fond memories made together.) A few hugs, and minutes to catch up is all we had before service started. We had time to make temporary dinner plans for next week I can’t wait to catch up for real. After church we rushed off to our lunch date with Grandma and Grandpa Owens and Red Robin. Their current coloring pages are the United States we counted up that we have visited 22 states so far on our “trip”
looks like at the end of this assignment we need to head south then East as we have not yet seen most of the south east states. After lunch Caleb headed out with Grandpa to get a card for a party they were headed to. A little one on one time while Grandma works the off to camp in the morning.
I love that he has so many strong godly and manly mentors in his life. In the last week alone he has had the oportunity to work beside my dad one on one and now quality time with Chad’s dad. I couldn’t have dreamed that we would be so blessed, I hope there is a day when Caleb recognizes just how blessed he is.
The rest of us buckled in and headed west.
She is just so darn cute. We made it to Newport, checked into our hotel and then headed out to drive around. Plan G like we talked about earlier is us borrowing a trailer from Chuck and Donna (Chad’s parents) and finding a campground that allows long term campers with a monthly rate. We will still need a lot of things to fall into place but right now that is where we are at.
It is so beautiful here! We can’t wait to get settled. Now for a little sleep, ready or not we start tomorrow. 😬
Saturday morning I took Chad to work, with the agenda for the day being get Caleb’s hair cut, clean our room (we all five share a room when we are home it gets really messy really quick), get Caleb packed for camp, we needed to get packed for Newport, and a few other miscellaneous things. All in all a really low key day comprised with only a couple hours of work if we really were focussed. Before I even got out of the car back at the house my phone vibrated with a text message from a friend saying we could invite Jayson, Stephanie and Cyrus to the girls birthday party today too….birthday party, I had missed something. Well, we weren’t late yet, and we weren’t going to turn down an oportunity to hang out with some of our favorite people. The kids got all ready and we got Caleb mostly packed for camp, everyone was in their swim suits hopping in the car about 10:30. Steph and Jayson had a commitment in Portland so we headed one way and they headed the other.
It has been so hot, but today not so much. Overcast and even a short stint of spitting rain followed by an equally short sun break in the clouds. Morning pool party turned to finger food lunch, the noise of children’s laughter and occasional squabbles. I went to get Chad from work and before we knew it dinner time. Mark and Chad went out and got us hotdogs and buns that we roasted over the fire. Becky and I ran to the store for a few things for camp. All the while the kids played and played. I’m not sure that they had such a long day of company planned. We will see if we ever get invited back over again 😉. Thank you Mark and Becky for a day of just being together. We did get Caleb the rest of the way packed before bed. In the morning we all got packed for Newport, and we are going to have to clean our room later.