River's Edge Urban Academy

Homeschooling 4 kids ages 9, 6, 4 and baby while working as a postpartum nurse and lactation counselor.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Katy's Cooking Tip of the Day
Just because Cumin and Cinnamon look a lot alike, start with the same letter and may even come from the same region of the world, does not mean they are interchangeable in dishes such as chili. I scooped out as much as I could and am not saying anything. I'll let you know how they liked it!
Update: No one noticed and 2 out of 3 children scarfed it (slightly higher than expected). Will experiment on unsuspecting friends by sharing it with them. Bwahahaha <-evil laugh. Actually the mom knows, but hopefully she won't tell them.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Awesome Blog
Everyone in the whole world should check out this awesome blog as they were smart enough to post something I submitted!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

We have had some really nice days lately and I have been enjoying myself so much I haven't had time to write about it.
School is very good. We have gotten into this Charlotte Mason groove where we are doing 20" per subject moving from quickly from subject to subject that are planned so they are as unlike from each other as possible ex. start with handwriting (diff fine motor, easy brain-wise), math (easy fine motor, fun-challenging brain-wise) and then reading on the couch (cuddling which makes up for it being toughest subject). Attitudes and behavior have also been very good lately. I have only worked one day in the last week and a half which helps me to parent with more patience and consistency. I had worked a bunch of shifts in a row before that and could really feel it wearing on the family.
Yesterday was very fun as we met our hs support group at Petco for a field trip. The store manager had a lot of really good information and the kids had a blast looking at the animals. Zeff and one of his favorite little friends laughed so hard at the mice. They were cute and it just cracked him and the little girl up how they burrowed around under their bedding.
Joss said her favorite part was going in the bird room. She spent a long time looking at and talking to a large white parrot which raised the ruff on his head several times and was soooo beautiful.
The first half went pretty well for me as Keian was content to ride in his stroller but then he absolutely HAD to get down and I spent the rest of the field trip chasing him. Fortunately, I didn't need to worry about J's behavior and another mom (who's baby was behaving!) kept an eye on Zeff for me so I could just let baby run, keeping him much quieter.
The best part of the field trip was unplanned. As the trip was winding up we noticed a dog getting a bath. All the kids watched that with much fascination for several minutes and the lady behind the counter (not the one washing the dog) was really sweet and enjoyed talking to the kids and answering their questions.
After the field trip we met up with two of the families at BK to have lunch and (mostly) to play at the indoor playground. While there I witnessed so much sweet behavior between the kids that I just had tears in my eyes for a lot of it. One of the little boys, H, who is almost 2 1/2, really likes to pretend he is a little kitty. So much so that he crawls around meowing. He also has a trick that his mom is a little tired of but I find adorable: he soaks his hand in his mouth and then "washes" people with it. I know I'd get tired of it, if my kid did that, but for some reason it just cracked me up.
Well, Zeff is frequently an animal so he thought H being a little kitty was great. So Jossy was minding baby puppy Zeff, and baby kitty, H in the playland. Keian was playing near them and I was keeping a 1/2 an eye on them while I chatted with the other moms. Then I looked closer and realize the top of Keian's head was soaked! He had been washed by the little kitty!!!! I almost died laughing. Zeff and the little kitty also pretended to cuddle and go to sleep together.
After the field trip we headed home and did some math and then my cousin and her son came over. The kids had a great time together and we watched the HYSTERICAL movie, Elf. We also got a pizza and had supper together.
We had a great morning today! Joss did SO well in her school and her reading is really coming along. She is doing more reading on her own now, and is finishing her lessons without any frustration. We have also started doing handwriting and she really enjoys sitting up straight "like a ballerina" so she can write lovely "like a princess"! Hey whatever works, I say!
We toyed around with a few different ideas of what to do with our afternoon. I thought of the Zoo but then decided to ask my neighbor to have the big kids over during the baby's nap so I could sweep and mop and do the big cleanup. *Please note, total good intentions!!** But ended up going over there and drinking tea for the whole afternoon while the kids played! Then Ryan got home and we went to the MOA for supper (cuz my house was still a wreck!) and for the kids to go on one ride apiece.
I should go clean the kitchen. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Heard while driving:
Jossy: Say window
Keian: ih-oh
J: Say car seat.
K: ah-ee
J: Say Florida.
K: oh-ahh
J: Hey mom, I'm taching Keian to talk! I should be a baby trainer.
And BTW my baby does talk. He says thank you, you're welcome, Mama, dada, and ah-ee (Jossy). He mimics everything. He even mimicked, "Wipe my butt!" wi' ma bu' Maybe I would be a kinder mom if I didn't record that as his first phrase.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Overall work was much better tonight but I baby-received at my first C-section where we transferred the baby. The young mom had all ready lost a 23 weeker and this baby was 36.6 wks. This is the point of pregnancy where being off on your dates by two weeks can make a big difference and that may have been part of this baby's problem, though he didn't really look premature. She had to have a repeat C-section due to having a classical incision the first time and had gone into labor, which is why we sectioned her when we did.
It took a long time to get through all the scar tissue so we were waiting around forever. Once the baby was born they put it in my charge nurse's arms and she ran with it to the table. He was blue, floppy and making no respiratory effort. I was rubbing his back and face and body as hard as I could and begging him in my mind to breathe while trying to appear calm so the dad wouldn't freak. We were about to ambu bag him (same concept as mouth to mouth, but with straight oxygen and more sanitary) when he started weakly crying. We asked the dad his name, and called him by it while we told him to cry. We kept rubbing and suctioning him and giving him blowby O2, and he was very slowly pinking up centrally, but his tone remained completely floppy. We then tried to get an O2 sat on him (measure the level of oxygenation in his blood) but first couldn't find the sensors, then when I ran and got one from another OR had a horrible time getting it to pick up. This whole time we are giving him oxygen and stimulating him (we were by then scratching his feet and being quite rough to get him to cry more). I had to check his heart rate and listen to lungs several times and once got my stethoscope all tangled up in my OR hat and it felt like HOURS till I could get it untangled and out so I could listen. After 10 min of this we called Special Care Nursery down to evaluate him. By then our O2 sensor was working and he was satting anywhere between low 70s (pretty bad) without oxygen to almost mid 90s (good) when I would cup my hand over his face with the oxygen tube in it to increase the concentration of oxygen he was getting. We put him in the transporter and the SCN nurse pushed while I kept my hand inside it with the tubing in his little face.
After I passed along what information I had, I returned to the nursery. At that point I started shaking and was near tears for a couple minutes while I relayed the story to the nurse who'd been watching the nursery for me. Even though I'd been gone for about an hour, she still told me to go sit down and take a break.
Shaking and still near tears I called my mom. I was just going into how scared and dumb I felt when I looked up at the greaseboard in our break room. We often leave general messages to the staff there and someone had written:
Kudos to whoever had the great idea for putting a cut-down hat under the bili goggles, for our babies under lights.
And someone else had written in my name above it. It was an idea I came up with several weeks ago out of frustration with the little goggles our babies under bililites wear to protect their eyes. The dumb things never stay in place and we are constantly adjusting them. Now, I don't actually think it is that big a deal if the things are slightly off for short periods of time, but it REALLY bothers the parents of these babies. One night I got the idea to chop off the top of a hat (since overheating is a concern with these kids) and put the soft band of it over there eyes and the goggles over that. It has met with a really positive response from the other nurses and the parents, as well.
So, just when I was feeling really low and crappy and scared I got a major pick me up. A night nurse mentioned to me the other night that I had written her a little note wishing her a good night many months ago as she was starting what promised to be a rotten shift. She told me that it had meant so much to her that night and that she had taken it home and put it on her bulletin board.
I guess what has struck me tonight is how you never know when something that seems small to you can mean so much to someone else. I hardly even remember writing that note, but it really touched that nurse and helped her through her night. It probably took the nurse who wrote the message on the greaseboard less than a minute to write it, but it made the difference between feeling really rotten and feeling okay to me. It's like that book, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" which is excellent, by the way.
Well, I requested an on-call for tomorrow after this awful weekend (though very profitable with all the overtime I got). I really hope I get it, cuz I have been fighting a cold for several days, though I haven't really gotten it yet. A quiet evening at home and getting to bed early would probably nip it in the bud, but another night at that madhouse will probably guarantee that I get sick.
PS I listened to the new Eminem CD again last night and only love it more. I wonder how many other homeschooling moms there are in the world who listen to Eminem. Probably not too many. I know of one computer guy who claims to but I don't think I believe him.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Can someone tell me what the heck happened nine months ago???? We have been slammed at work for the last three days in a row. We can hardly find rooms for all the patients. I was in the nursery last night and in a momentary lapse of sanity agreed to stay four hours extra. I got floated to L&D and proceeded to get my butt kicked!I recovered two moms and babies and cared for a fresh C-section! I didn't get out of there till 4 in the AM and had to come back at 3PM today!
Today I walked into the nursery and almost turned around and walked out. There were three babies under bili-lites. They alone would be almost be a full assignment in the Special Care nursery. In addition I had two babies in warmers including one who did NOT BELONG in our nursery. She was 1/2 a set of twins and appeared to possibly have Down's. She had no tone (Instead of holding her arms and legs flexed she was laid out and floppy) and could not maintain her O2 sats unless I blasted her in the face with blow-by O2 at 5liters. Fortunately my charge nurse was able to call another nurse in to help me in the nursery for the rest of the night so it was okay, but still very busy. I NEVER could have done it on my own.
So, please everyone, quit having sex, cuz I am tired. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Days Go By
We are settling into a nice school year routine. We did blow it off today to hit the zoo this morning before the weather turned cold. Joss read many of the signs and I read others to her. Zeff got to take his Wolfie to see his "family," (the Mexican Wolves.)
We raced home from the Zoo to start "Thanksgiving" dinner complete with turkey, cranberries and roasted baby potatoes.
Joss and Malcolm (our cousin) had art class this afternoon. Joss wove me a yarn strip of cloth, glued it to a card and decorated it as a surprise for me.
Then my cousin came to pick up Malcolm and we had our big Thanksgiving dinner together. We are so lucky to have them.
School is going better in general. The last few days have been wonderful. Our attitude problems seem to have resolved. J and Z are getting better at getting along. Something that works well with Zeff is to act things out. Today he hit his older cousin after M took something from him. After he apologized and sat out for doing it, I had Malcolm come back and we practiced better ways of dealing with having your toy taken. The big kids really got into helping Zeff deal, a good lesson for all concerned. They also taught him about being thankful and were teaching him some Math as well.
J&M:What's 4+4?
Z: 7.
J&M: No, but close, add one more.
Z: (blank look)
J&M: C'mon Zeff what's 7+1?
Z: 4.
Oh well.
It is such a neat dynamic when my cousin is here. He is a really nice kid and his behavior with me has been great. He really thrives in his role as my chief helper (and I thank him for it often). He buckles Zeff when we go places (they sit next to each other) and helps keep the little kids happy in the minivan. He is kind and gentle to Zeff and Keian, letting me know if either is in trouble. Him and Joss get along very well about 95% of the time and have great imaginative games that go on for hours and incorporate the little boys (mostly as props and pawns). The TV is almost never on when he is over because the kids amuse themselves so well.
I guess this is a little rambly, but I am feeling very happy about many things and am so grateful to have my cousin and her son in my life.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

That's going a little far...

Saturday, November 06, 2004

This probably means I am not a mature adult but...
I am really happily listening to Eminem's new cd and loving it. He is a poetic voice for my generation. I will never forget the line in that song "..but man these goddamn food stamps don't buy diapers." I had friends growing up (starting when I was 15) who couldn't keep their kids in diapers for that very reason - welfare paid the rent and little else. WIC and foodstamps bought food and formula but you can't use them for diapers. So I know a lot of people have a problem with him, but he does speak of a reality that I have lived and know. He's violent, disrespectful to women? He's just a reflection of and product of a society that I have lived in. And the man can rhyme!!!!!
Hi all. Just had to post how maturely I am dealing with the election. I purchased a really cool shirt at Savers for $3 a couple weeks ago, and though I knew it would have numerous applications, I didn't realize I would be utilizing it so soon.
It is a black T-shirt with white writing that says "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups"
Disclaimer: I can think of a couple people who read my blog, voted incorrectly, yet still are not stupid, so please don't take offense if you are in this category.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Wow! Just when I was starting to wonder if homeschooling really is the best thing for our family (trouble getting things done, some attitude issues, trouble with a couple math concepts) I had one of those days that helped me remember what is so great about it!
School flew by! A little humor (I pretended to be the student and made Joss explain it to me) got us through the math and confirmed that Joss does know the stuff - just gets easily discouraged at times. The attitude was a thousand times better. I have been trying to get through school quickly cuz of other demands and Joss really does better with some built in breaks and rewards. We were done with the day's Calvert School by 9:45 (less than 45 minutes spent total!!) so spent a 1/2 hour on the recorder. Joss loves it and is soaking up the music theory like a sponge. She doesn't even get frustrated by the fact that her hands are too small to do the fingering very easily.
After the recorder lesson her and Zeff acted out and danced the nutcracker (we have the cd) they have been watching a video of it produced at Orchestra Hall here in the cities (I can't remember if it is in Mpls or St Paul) and Zeff made some comments that showed me that he totally remembers the story when he hears the music. I can't wait to go see the ballet this winter!
So it is 10:30 now and I plan to get cleaned up and to the Children's Museum (baby is feeling much better) for a brief visit before we pick up our cousin. I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING!
Regarding the election - I am so proud of our state for the turnout and majority for Kerry. Greatly disappointed that it appears to be Bush winning. Have been thinking of what I need to do in relation to it. I need to step up my level of activism on the pro-choice front. I am a member of NARAL but thus far have only supported them financially. I should contact them to see what I can do in my limited time.
Is it a little silly to keep hoping that it is Kerry by a miracle?

Monday, November 01, 2004

I love my job. I was so busy tonight that I didn't get to eat but every single one of my patients went out of their way to thank me and tell me how much I had helped them. And I did (if I do say so myself). What a privilege.
I've said this before but I'll say it again. If your nurse helps you, ie. relieves your pain, explains something you didn't understand or whatever, tell her or him. It is why we do it and is the best gift you can give us.