Monthly Archives: May 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Fort Abercrombie state park and the Military History museum were our main plan for the day as well as to hopefully find the “WWII Cemetery”.  The museum was open from 1:00-4:00pm, so there was no need to get too early of a start.  We looked for the cemetery first but it wasn’t on googlemaps we discovered later that is because it is just called the Old American Cemetery.  We decided to do Taco Bell/KFC taken to Mill Beach for a in the car picnic (it was spitting a bit and looking like rain).  We watched the waves come in and go out.  Some people were combing the beach, so we watched them too.  After we finished eating we explored a little.  The sights were amazing, but with the breeze off of the water it was a little cold.  

After our early lunch we headed to Fort Abercrombie, we could hike around until the museum opened. 

We found this on our hike up to the museum.  It was cool to peak around inside of it.  It is hard to imagine it in use. 

Miller point is supposed to be an excellent place to whale watch. We didn’t see anything while we were watching, but we will if we keep watching. 

There were fun wild flowers blooming.  Below you can see my fingers holding a Chocolate lily. And the one below that we are thinking must be the fire weed although it is hard to tell, it doesn’t exactly look like the pictures I have seen. 

The view again just down the trail from Miller point. 

When the clock struck 1:01pm we headed back to check out the museum. 

This dress up station kept the kids busy for quite some time.  I love it when museums have this kind of hands on learning opportunities. 

Matthew gave these kids a love of jeeps so this was extra fun to pretend drive those military jeep. 

I didn’t ever realize that the Japanese occupied some of the Aleutian Islands. 
The communications room was the favorite by far! So so cool!

Thank you Military History museum you were awesome!

We hiked down to the lake on our way back to the car. There are many beautiful hikes in Fort Abercrombie park. 

The Old American Cemetery was our last stop for the day. 

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White Sands Beach Kodiak Alaska

So this post will probably mostly be pictures but we may have just found our new favorite place on this planet. It was so gorgeous, the warm sunshine and cool breeze made it perfect!!!  It is at the end of the road headed north (I think that is the right direction).  The sand was black, but somehow looked white from a distance.  We enjoyed the views, climbing on the rocks, watching a snorkeler who was spear fishing, and skipping rocks.   

We probably let the kids climb a little too high, but I couldn’t get pictures of that.  We wouldn’t want to scare grandma 😉.  The kids had a blast, Chad had a blast, I could not imagine a better way to spend the day.  We came home and had left over watermelon and cake from the potluck at church for dinner.  We have been eyeing the forcast and expect that we will see much more rain this up coming week! 

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Crab Fest 2016

We slept in, and I was behind on my reading so we hung at the house until around 10:30am then headed to the famed, in Kodiak at least, Crab Fest.  It turned out that we just missed the parade, oops, but the the rest of the Saturday festivities were just picking up.  We felt lucky to have found close parking.  The very first thing this morning was the Coast Gaurd rescue demonstration.  It was awesome!  I don’t think the pictures do it justice at all and my phone just doesn’t have enough memory to do more than a couple minutes of video. Bear with me I will try to post both. 

The kids were able to touch some crabs that were being pulled up from a boat that just came in.  They are dungeonous crabs.  The picture below that we bought two pounds of king crab for our Crab Fest appetizer.  It was soooo good, the best crab I have ever eaten for sure. 

Then we tried Soda Jerk which was recommended by a patient.  So fun.  I hope this picture is good enough quality for you to see the menu. 

Since everything that we bought was shared with all five of us we felt like we were eating all day.  Chad bought a pollock burger (he and the kids had explored the crab fest Thursday too and they had already tried the famed Bruen burger) and we bought some sushi.  Then we sat down to watch the survival suite races. ​

I think Eve’s favorite part was playing in the water of the harbor next to the dock.  She found the little boy that she was playing trains with on the ferry and they played for maybe a couple of hours.  Chad watched the fish toss and the big kids checked out the carnival games and could go around the festival together with just checking back in with me every 15 minutes.  I was enjoying the sun and watching Eve play.  Chad and I visited with the parents of Eve’s little friend to see how they were settling in after their first week of living in the island and their new job.  We exchanged numbers and bought a big bag of kettle corn before leaving making it home just before 6:00pm.  

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Cutest Lunch Dates

Chad and the kids made lunch and brought it to the hospital to spend lunch break with me Friday. It was fun as several people had asked to meet my family.  We talked to my new boss for a while and then headed to the cafeteria to pick out a drink for everyone.  Then, we sat outside in the sun and took in the beautiful view.  

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How many Sarah Owens’ Can There Be In The World?

I have worked in two hospitals in California where I was the second Sarah Owens in their system which confused them a bit and made getting my logins and accesses a little more difficult.  The Providence system is way way too big to only have one Sarah Owens of course that has really confused things.  The first time they created my access it was under a student, or some other clinical but limited access who happened to share my name, well mostly she didn’t have the S at the end of her name, then they did have a Sarah Owens in their system but was a social worker in Oregon providence system.  Which they set me up as… Needless to say I spent a good bit of my day today on the phone with providence clinical support hotline and an equal amount of it in the nursing manager’s office and some of the time doing both… It isn’t completely fixed yet but at least they figured out that they were setting me up with someone else’s account before we got much further.  Oh the joys of getting me all set up here, and oh the joys of having such a common name (I wouldn’t want a different name though even if it did make things easier).

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Fossil Beach

We found the end of the road today.  It had been recommended by an OB/charge nurse to go to fossil beach and where they encourage you to chisel out a fossil to take home.  We stopped at Walmart and picked up two $0.78 flat head screw drivers and two $3.00 hammers so the kids could chisel out their fossils.  We also finally purchased a can of bear spray.   Instead of turning left toward Chiniak like we did last time we turned right and headed toward the launch site past Pasagshak recreation site where there is a really cute community.  The fossils where easy to find and we also enjoyed the heard of bison that roamed free at the end of the road.  We saw several bald eagles that I didn’t even try to get pictures of but when we saw one sitting in a nest I had to try.  

There are soft sponge everywhere. Can you see the fossils?

This little worm was fun to watch squirm around. Here is a picture of the end of the road and the bison. 

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Light Or Dark, No In Between 

Dark all winter and light all summer, everyone knows this is part of the seasonal cycles in Alaska.  I thought it would be more like sleeping in the day after a night shift but really it is nothing like that.  It is more like getting your kids to bed at 3:00pm when they don’t feel tired.  If you aren’t watching the time closely you don’t notice how late it is as it doesn’t get dark until midnight.  You think it is 5 or 6:00pm and nope it’s 10:00pm. If you happen to notice in time to get your kids into bed at a decent hour they can not get to sleep and spend hours getting into trouble and being noisy in their room.  Yesterday Eve finally put herself in the closet and closed the door so it would be dark enough for her to go to sleep.  I don’t want to be taking melatonin too frequently so I’m trying to avoid that but I’m lucky to get to sleep before midnight even when I work the next day.  I’m thinking very soon we are going to have to Jerryrig something to darken the rooms.  The one part about it that I am liking is that the kids are taking so long to get to sleep that they are sleeping in late consistently.  I am glad we are getting to experience this first hand it is part of living here.

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“Our purpose is not to provide excellent healthcare, although we do do that, it is to love.”

New employee orientation is often inspiring and motivating to me as a nurse.  I have worked for other hospitals with religious affiliation but the Mission and Vision statements here struck me differently today.  

“Mission: As people of Providence, we reveal God’s love for all, especially the poor and vulnerable, through our compassionate service. ” 

“Our purpose is not to provide excellent healthcare, although we do do that, it is to love.”

“Vision: Together, as people of Providence, we answer the call of every person we serve: Know me, care for me, ease my way.”  
I do know that some of the mission and vision statement is a publicity and image thing where administrators can say that out of one side of their mouth and then when no one is looking tell you in no uncertain terms that it is all about the bottom line.  But as each of the presenters spoke and as a staff nurse showed me around the labor and delivery unit it seems to be a theme.. Our job is to love those who come through our doors by giving them time, attention, and the best quality of health care based on evidence based practice.  

The other encouraging thing is that this hospital is a five star hospital based on HCAHPS score,  the first one I have ever worked at with such a good rating.  Silverton Health Family Birth Center had a 95% patient satisfaction scores giving them the Press Ganey award, their HCAHPS score is four stars which is still excellent. I have worked at hospitals from two star rating to four star rating, I hope this unit lives up to it’s five star status. It is the only five star hospital in Alaska as of right now, and the only one in the Providence system.  Out of curiosity I went back and looked at the scores for the other hospitals that I have worked at and was not surprised by their scores.  A huge part of our job satisfaction is being able to leave the patient feeling like they were well taken care of.  So, when we have the tools to do that it reminds us why we became a nurse to begin with…people…the love of people. 
After work we drove around the island a bit.  We needed gas so we had to turn around.  The roads go further than I expected them to.  We will have to fill up before heading out next time so we can explore farther. 

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Kodiak Church of the Nazarene

We discussed back and forth wether to go to the Assembly of God or the Nazarene church.  As tired as we were and as slow as we got going this morning the decision came down to which service started the latest.  At 11:00am, the Church of the Nazarene ended up being the choice.  Generally once we go to one church we don’t hop around we finish out the assignment at that same church.  Well we will never know what we are missing at the AG church, but we’re happy with Kodiak Church of the Nazarene.  The people were very welcoming and very curious about what we were doing in Kodiak.  Eve asked the man who held the door open for us if there was children’s church and he assured her there was.  We found a seat and soon everyone was coming by to introduce themselves. I wish I could say I remember everyone’s names but I do remember a few of them at least.  It is a smaller church but not as small as we thought it might be.  We have found while traveling that smaller churches allow us to get to know the people better and it fosters more friendships.  We were not the only Oregonians there which was also fun.  A couple was there from Baker and another homeschooling family with six kids who have one of their grown children who lives in Astoria were they had recently visited them.  And, the Pastor also used to live in Oregon.  Several people gave us their contact information incase we need anything or have questions.  We are hopeful that we will enjoy the fellowship here. We drove up the hill near the church to check out the view after service as was recommended.  The view was amazing. Work will start tomorrow, I’m ready as I will ever be.  I wish I could say I am excited for it.  I’m not anxious or stressed, I am just not looking forward to how much emotional energy is required to get reestablished and settled into another assignment.  Here’s to the next three months of discovering why God has opened this door for us. 

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Ferry Experience

We have ridden on a few ferrys none as big as this one though.  We were supposed to be there at 12:00Am Saturday morning.  Ruth and Matthew accompanied us to the ferry terminal and the kids begged (and Ruth) that they ride with them there.  Eve especially decided that she was not going to Kodiak, but instead if they could just hide her she could stay in Homer with the Mitchels.  What can I say to that, definitely two days was not enough time to be together.  I wish I could say that we have a whole lot more time on our way out to spend together, but I know what the time like looks like.  We will try to work it out for as much time as we can, but sorry Eve you have to come with us. We were parked in our lane to load the car before 12:00AM in time to wait wait and wait some more.  Matthew and Ruth stayed and visited with us until nearly 2:00 AM.  Which gave us that much more time to visit.  The kids (and me) were to sleep almost instantly after we said our goodbyes (actually I think the kids might have all been asleep before).  We had stayed up until midnight the day before and now it was 0200 and we could not keep our eyes open.  I woke up briefly when Chad pulled the car into the elevator at the back of the ferry.  It was a cool ride to be let down into the car deck of the ship.  It is a big boat and gods lots of uhaul trucks and fifthwheels, semi trailers and more.  Kind of unbelievable. We made it up to our floor and checked out the keys to our room unsure of what it would look like or have in it, we were hoping for a bathroom and linens since there was a sign that you could rent linens for three dollars.  We were assured that the room we were in came with linens. Few.  We do have our sleepingbags but that would require going back down to the car and getting them.  We were all wiped and Eve was crying unless she was held.  

The room was perfect, besides being a little cold to start with.  One side had a bunk bed and the other a Murphy bed and couch that turned into a bed.  We quickly assigned beds to each kid and filed them through the bathroom.  We thought the accommodations were great as we did have our own shower and bathroom and large window view.  The couch made it comfortable to hang out in the day and it didn not fee crowded with five people in it for the 12 hours we were on the ferry. 

TThe cafe was like a hospital cafeteria with a grill making hot breakfast options as well as a selection of packaged breakfast options and oatmeal, tea, coffee, juice and milk.  Caleb chose oatmeal, Hannah chose cold cereal and Eve wanted only yogurt and water.  Chad and I ordered from the grill and can say the food was very good.  We enjoyed the view during breakfast as we were driving though a channel and were close enough to land to see the details of the shoreline.  Eve didn’t eat much of her breakfast and then said something about her stomache hurting I had her come over by me and Chad grabbed a barf bag out of the windowsill.  We were just in time to catch the bit of yogurt she did manage to eat.  She seemed fine after that.  Chad purchased some Dramamine chewable tabs for kids two years and up and a few more bags from the window.  I grabbed a few napkins and we continued on to the play room.  She found a little four year old boy to play trains with and the were busy about their play for quite a while.  There was another mom in the play room whose three year old erupted short after we got in there.  I handed her a bag and the pile of napkins to clean off the seat and carpet.  I offered a packet of the Dramamine and she wasn’t to sure about that, but soon she erupted again.  Then she did take me up on the Dramamine and a second bag.  Poor thing.  You definitely could feel the rocking of the boat.  It was pretty pronounced.  We decide to go outside and check out the observation deck.  The front covered observation deck was filled with people sleeping who had not had a room.  So we went out the side door and around the from where the wind was strong and we had to hold on to eachother.  We took a few pictures and just as we did a big spray splashed up and got us (we were two or three stories up from the main deck).  After that dousing we decided to walk around to the other side that was luckily sheltered more from the wind.  We climbed a few stairs and checked out the emergency boats before ducking back inside and heading to our room for a nap. Eve seemed fine except that she was a little sleepy.  We all crashed out for another two hours before the call came to turn in our room key and go to our cars on the car deck. 

We loaded in the car and even though we were toward the front of the unloading zone it still took a while to get off.  The kids fell asleep again. 
On our way to our new apartment we drove right past the hospital so we did our traditional drive around to check it out.  My father-in-law says it looks like a prison from the side but agreed that it doesn’t look too bad from the main entrance. Our housing seems to be great.  It is the first time we have had a three bedroom and it is furnished, yay! We very rarely get furniture, because of the added expense, so when we do have it we are so very greatful.  Our travel nurse company got this place for us after the hospital provided housing fell through due, I think, to the number of people we travel with.  We are so thankful that they did as the housing market over here is steep with very few availabilities. Below is a going away/housewarming gift from Ruth and Matthew.  Three jars of canned salmon and one jar of fireweed jelly.  

Eve woke up and slowly bobbed her way into the house.  She made it to the kitchen before erping just enough to give me time to grab her and run her to the bathroom for a two pointer slam dunk of throw up in the toilet. Few.  We rummaged through the cupboards and found a bowl for her to carry around.  She found her bed and pulled off her shoes rolling into it.  It wasn’t much longer when she, carrying her pillow and bucket made her way out to the couch to watch the kids cooking show Chad had turned on for her.  We decided (we were all feeling rough/exhausted) that Chad run out to get only what we needed for tonight we would save exploring and big shopping for tomorrow.  We all just needed to rest.  

The bags made it inside that is as far as they got.  We had the canned salmon for late lunch/dinner.  The next think I knew we were all sleeping again.  I woke up just after seven to discover that the kids had all disappeared to bed and then fell back asleep.  Chad woke me up around 8:00PM to go to bed.  I can not believe how tired I still feel.  Good grief.  I’m so thankful for today, for getting here and for time to rest.  My thankful list could go on and on. Thank you everyone for your prayers and hospitality as we have journeyed they mean so much to us. 

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