Here a CC family, There a CC family, everywhere a CC family

I don’t think Neenah is the Classical Conversations (CC) Capitol of the world but we have run into several families in this area that are part of a CC group (homeschool co-op) there was the family at the library a month or so ago, the family at the Oshkosh Saturday market a while back, and last night I had an Abecedarian tutor as a patient, and the director of their program as a visitor.  She was telling me how many CC groups they had in a 60 mile radius, I don’t remember the number but it was huge.  There is four groups in Neenah alone and Neenah is a fairly small town. It was super fun to have her.  We had a running conversation that continued every time I was in her room to check on her or help her about CC, homeschooling, Ken Ham, serving God in this fallen world, and life in general. I feel like I was at work all night getting blessed by my patients.  Is that backwards?  My cup overflows!

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Okay, that didn’t work.

I’m never quite sure what to do with the one on one off one on shift schedule with night shift hours.  If you are able to only rest a short time before your first shift, you can’t exactly stay up all day after you have worked all night and been awake the whole day before, but if you sleep you waste your one day off, and if you don’t sleep you will feel terrible all day.  I have never really tried to just stay on my night shift hours on a day I was not working but it seemed like an option worth trying.  So I got home from work, stayed up for a few hours had breakfast with the kids and walked the dog.  Then I crashed hard, waking up around 3:00pm making it down stairs to join the party about a half hour later. We had planned to carve our pumpkin so we did that after dinner and after the kids went to bed and our blog was typed up and posted I settled down with a book.  I had planned to go to bed around 12:00 or 1:00 but was still wide awake at those times, but by 3:00 I thought it best to get some rest.  I fell asleep quickly but was awake with back pain by 8:00 am and was wide awake after that.  I wanted to feel rested going to work but I couldn’t get back to sleep and didn’t want to have to pull another all nighter on five hours of sleep.  I took melatonin.  I talked with two recruiters and a friend off and on trying to get things lined up for our next assignment, which didn’t help me fall asleep but was necessary.  I did get a little more sleep between1:30 and 3:45.  Hopefully that will carry me.  Maybe I should have stayed up until 6:00, I don’t know, I hate to miss a whole day with my family when it is a day off.  Hmmm, not sure that it helped at all maybe I will stick to sleeping all day getting up for a few hours then sleeping all night, being awake the next 24 hours (all day and all night.)  I wish I could figure out a way that worked well.

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Fall Traditions and Halloween

I have had a general dislike for Halloween as long as I can remember.  I remember the fear I felt as an elementary school aged child in the presence of adults I trusted dressed as creatures and characters that invoked fear.  Seeing my authority figures and heroes causing fear gave me a sence of distrust and betrayal.  Aren’t we supposed to love all others and treat other people the way we would want to be treated, not causing fear or nightmares that even knowing there was no harm intended could take away.  Maybe my parents were being over protective but I have been so thankful my whole life for the safety and refuge they provided me during this time of year by creating other family traditions that were fun and fear free.
As a child we tried several different versions of the harvest party and they were pretty fun, but it still felt like participating in a holiday that served as an antagonistic reminder of the reality of hell that not enough people in the world today live with or take seriously.
I’m not sure when or whom had the brilliant idea to check out of school on Halloween and travel to the nearby town of New Meadows. We would swim all day in their out door hot springs warmed pool with a short break to laugh, tell stories, eat crockpot lasagna, and just be together.  Awwwe finally, a halloween alternative that was truly an alternative.

As a non-parent adult I could pretty much just ignore the holiday, but as soon as Caleb came along Chad and I had to figure out what we were going to do about this fall elephant in our lives.  Chad had been raised going to the kids country fun fair at his families church.  We went when Caleb was a baby, it seemed harmless enough and there was no scary costumes. After a few years the country fun fair had evolved to another Halloween alternative the kind that made me physically ill, so on to plan B.  Chad is a movie guy and there are so many good older movies that we wanted to watch as a family.  “My Fair Lady,” “the Cat from Outer space,” “Family Band,” and “The Sound of Music.”  That combined with fond memory producing homemade carmel popcorn has made for several years now of a fun new tradition.  The one thing we do participate in is pumpkin carving.  I loved carving over grown zucchinis as a child and the part of me that loves all kinds of art and the fun you have making it still wants to participate in that part of fall activities. We don’t do anything scary, and this year we wanted to do something related to the adventure we are on. After several ideas we decided on a globe.
Chad dug out the seeds and prepped the pumpkin for carving, Hannah, Eve, and I separated and cleaned the seeds so they could be roasted. Then Caleb and I worked on the carving while Eve and Hannah popped out the pieces and collected them for disposal. Chad roasted the seeds and by the time the pumpkin was done and lit, the seeds were toasty and tasty.  I love watching the kids enjoy and admire the pumpkin. We may or may not have eaten almost all of the seeds already, only a handful is left and that is because Hannah asked us to save some more for her for the morning.









John 1:1-13 (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He was with God in the beginning.  3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.  7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.  8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.  10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

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Thunder and lightning

As I checked in at the front desk last night I was handed keys and told to hurry back to the OR my patient was delivering via emergency C/S. Here they have a certain person assigned each shift to be the circulator so the mom’s nurse is the baby catcher. This was my first time back in the OR since leaving Silverton, no worries though the OR is not as scary as it sounds to all you non-medically bent individuals. The NICU team was handling the recessitation with the pediatrician as orchestrator and baby was starting to pink up and get some muscle tone as I walked in. The mother, unable to see what was going on, was straining her neck and ears tuned in to hear that first cry that had not yet come. After a quick look at baby, color, and tone I was able to update mom on babies status, head of hair and cuteness factor much to the mother’s relief. It has to be so hard in that moment, as a parent, when you wonder if your baby is ever going to cry and then after what seems like an eternity it comes and all the fear and anxiety pent up exits your body with a flow of tears. This little one was adorable and after breathing became less of an overwhelming task and the NICU team left she laid there supported by her daddy on the pillow looking at her mother with the most expressive little face moving her mouth with direct eye contact as if telling her mother a huge exciting tale. Life, it’s delicate balance, and dramatic reminders that we are not in control are kind of an awe-full sight when witnessed first hand in this way. It is a good reminder that we are dealing with people and this is not just a job. As we wheeled out of the OR I got a call from the lead saying I was getting a labor admit….what? Someone else was going to take over my recovery and I needed to get going this pt was going fast. I am not as quick at all of the paperwork, admission process as most of the nurses here and the admission checklist is long so needless to say we got an IV site, pored in the bolus, got the epidural, and had a baby so the admission stuff didn’t happen until after delivery. I got my C/S mommy back after the recovery (and delivery of the new patient). Being two deliveries down on paperwork I was relieved to not be given the next admit. The other nurses were very helpful as I dug in with a shovel to unbury myself from the mound of paperwork and by 1 am I was pretty caught up. I have a feeling that there are probably a few things I forgot but I kept looking everything over and there was nothing I could find.
I stopped and picked up bread on the way home from work, walked Myra and then settled in at the table to wait for the kids to wake up. It didn’t take long. I managed to stay awake long enough to have breakfast and do most of the CC review with the kids. As I disappeared upstairs Chad yelled after me, “Hey, you can’t leave, what am I going to do with out my TA.” Lol, it’s good to feel loved. I woke up to a superman show of force by the underwear brigade.

Chad had planned a date night dinner for us for after the kids went to bed so he made them a separate dinner and then they got their scooters out to walk with Myra and me to the park.

There are no dogs allowed at the actual park so Myra and I paced up and down the road while the kids played. It was misting/sprinkling and we could hear the thunder and watch the storm clouds coming through, but we figured it was the end of the day if we get soaking wet who cares…it’ll be just part of the fun.

IMG_0814.JPG The breeze had picked up on our way home, so Eve and I walked with our arms stretched out singing, “think of the wonderful things, it’s the same as having wings.” And pretended that we were flying.

After the kids were all tucked into bed reading Chad surprised me with this amazing dinner.

IMG_0821.JPG so delicious.
The thunder/lightning storm was at a full rolling boil and it had not yet started downpouring so we took our dessert out to the back steps and sat in the dark watching the most spectacular, better than IMAX, natural fireworks show with surround sound thunder, the chirp of crickets and other insects, and the medium breeze and smell of cut grass and rain. I hollered to the kids who could hear through their window to watch the “fireworks” so they sat on Caleb’s bed next to the window and enjoyed the show too. Soon it started to rain so we reluctantly moved inside and watched from the dining room table as we sipped our ice tea and shared Chad’s hot tamales until bed time. When we headed to bed we discovered that the rain had made it into the open windows on the front side of the apartment and had gotten the floor and bed a little wet. We climbed in bed and continued to watch the flashing lights. It has slowed down now but what an amazing show I feel so blessed to have seen it. God is amazing!
I tried to get some picture of it and they aren’t very good but I’m going to share them anyway.




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Another day

No big updates, I got home from work early, made it out on a run, walked Myra and still was back before there was any stirring in the house, although within 10 minutes everyone was coming downstairs and getting ready for breakfast. The kids are already pretty good at their week one songs, and Chad found the cycle three music on the computer from last week. I stayed up probably too late Hanging out with them. After a shower and some zzzzzzzs it’s hi ho, hi ho off to work I go.

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New School Orientation

Today has gone well, as I have managed to remember the songs from CC cycle three. The last time we did it was three years ago (at least the ones from the first week). The kids seemed to enjoy their work and boy I am glad that we have been doing some math for the last month so there was absolutely no walls put up about that. Eve participated and it was so cute to hear her sing the infinitive song. Some of my friends, one in particular (you know who you are ;0) ) has been encouraging me to share a few more details about what our homeschool day looks like, for those of you who are also road schoolers/homeschoolers or just curious. Maybe a run down of what works for us and how we cover the different subjects. I am not going to cover that today but you can watch for it in the next couple of weeks I will describe what we have done for the past five years and what has and hasn’t changed as we transition to school on the road.







With daddy doing the homeschooling, school lunches rock!


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Gearing up for the school year 2014-2015

A slow morning, walk in the rain, and late breakfast started off our Labor Day. Followed by a frustrating trip to Barnes and Nobles, productive stop at he teacher store, and return trip home for lunch. After playing some sim city the kids settled in on an autobiography project and we snuck in school pictures. 2014-2015 school year ready or not…hear we come.
Caleb-5th grade



Hannah 2nd grade



Eve Pre-K










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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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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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