River's Edge Urban Academy

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

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Science Museum Field Trip
Since I did not put 2+2 together to realize I was coming down with the PLAGUE yesterday, I took my eldest and 3 other kids her age to the science museum for the afternoon. My neighbor was kind enough to trade me her two oldest (5g, 7b) for my two boys (1.75 & 4). We also brought my cousin (8b) so it worked out very nicely for the girls to be partners and the boys to be partners.
BTW:I have the kids be partners whenever I go places with a bunch of kids because I refuse to lose other people's kids! Each partnership is responsible to stay together and to stay with me. And two or three sets of partners are easier to keep track of than four or six individual kids. I also usually make them hold hands but didn't make the 7&8 yr old boys hold hands. This has worked very well for me for numerous outings and I recommend it.
We started out with J turning in her bison fur and report to the Collector's Corner. She did a nice job writing out her answers to the 5 W ?s and we also added a uses section (pillows, headdresses, rope) which she filled out with the help of her Jr Naturalist workbook. The staff people there are wonderful, they pretty much ignored me and just talked to J like a fellow scientist. They praised her beautful report and gave her 2,500 points (I think that is what she got last time, too.) She didn't purchase anything with her points today so they got added to the 1000 that she had left in her account. I have overheard her and her cousin plotting to combine their points and purchase large quantities of fool's gold, but have not asked them about it. Don't want to be charged as a co-conspirator or anything!
We then visited the new Animal Grossology exhibit. That was so cool! Even cooler than the Chinasaurs. The exhibits were colorful, hands-on and potty-humorish- but all in the name of science! The kids enjoyed the exhibit exploring the cows four stomachs ending, of course, in a cow toot! Also the talking fly explaining how it throws up on food before it eats it. We will definitely back to this many times, I am glad that it will be there up until next school year because there was way too many people there yesterday!
We finished up by watching the new Omni Movie, Bears (if you hit the link be sure to check out the educational materials - they are marvelous!). This movie was great! It focused on helping people understand and be less afraid of bears so it was not scary, but mostly informative and cute. There were some episodes of bears play-fighting and some fish-blood but the kids with me did fine and I plan to take Zeff as well. The scenery of Alaska where much of the movie was shot was incredible and so beautiful on the big Omni screen.
My first clue that I was sick was that I was freezing to death and ended up forcing J to sit on my lap so she could keep me warm, during the movie. By the time we got home I knew I had a fever and was totally sick so I never did any of the enrichment activities from the website with the kids, but I hope to do some with J and M next week. And maybe the neighbor kids, might as well get as many kids enriched as possible, if I go to the work. I plan to do the Got Milk lesson from the website so I'll post how it goes if we do it.
Shout out to my cousin who came over when I called her and said "Get over her right now. *click*". She came and hung for over an hour watching my kids while I lay down in a misery of chills and sweating waiting for my tylenol-ibuprofen cocktail to kick in. Then ordered a pizza for us before she left. I LOVE YOU, RACHEL!
Was my temperature yesterday afternoon. It is gone now, but my tonsils are still so swollen that they are touching. Waaahhh!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Big Ol' South Dakota Vay-K!
Well, we are home from our vacation to Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It was exhausting but totally worth it. We played outside in perfect weather everyday and the kids (and adults) slept hard every night.
Day 1: We were supposed to leave at 3am but I was too excited to sleep so we just left at 1am and drove all day. We got to the park about 3pm mountain time. Plenty of time to set up and have supper and make a fire before collapsing in our tent.
Day 2: Woke to see a bison wandering around 100 yards from the bathroom! Poor Jossy threw up all morning, finally turned around after lunch (she has a nervous stomach, wasn't really sick). Picked up Junior Naturalist guide for J. Went to beach in PM
Day 3: Drove around the wildlife loop where we saw baby buffalos and their mamas, baby burros and their mamas and pronghorns.
Day 4: Trip to Town Bear Country and Mt Rushmore. Got souvenirs, otherwise known as submarines to Zeffy.
Day 5: Gorgeous bike ride that ended at a beach. We all swam with clothes on. Hit a different beach later and then went rock climbing
Day 6: Got up, packed up, left at 9:40 Mtn Time, got home at 1:30 am Central Time. Stopped in Mitchell SD to see Corn Palace and had a really nice time playing outside at rest stop at border of MN.
Hope to blog more later...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!
As usual, I worked on my birthday. This actually makes me very happy, because thanks to the fact that MN has one of the strongest nurse's unions in the US, I earned double time. That's right, union nurses get double time on their birthday. It is the most ridiculous thing, in my opinion, but I'm not turning it down!
However, I have learned on previous birthdays that it always is madly busy and you always feel like you totally earned your double time. That held true tonight! I got three babies from C-sections including one who I ended up transferring up to the special care nursery with respiratory distress. I had one baby under lights and another baby that required a lab test that took a total of four pokes to get. I gave at least four baths, maybe five. It was crazy, and all the other nurses were really busy too, so they couldn't help me. To top it all off the nursery was about 78 degrees all night, lovely for the babies but I just about sweltered to death! We had one of my most favorite charge nurses tonight though, and she really helped us alot (answered lights, watched the nursery, etc), and was able to find me some help from 7-11.
The good parts were: I picked up ice cream and root beer on my way in so we could have root beer floats. Ry needed the van so he and the kids all brought me to work. They begged to come in with me and truthfully I needed them for all the pop and the ice cream bucket. They love to come to my work and I think my friends at work enjoy seeing them. Joss got to thank the lactation consultant who helped me after she was born for "teaching her how to eat". They got to see a tiny new baby in a warmer and the baby who was under lights.
Other good parts are that we ordered supper from my favorite place (Caffrey's - roast beef hoagie with blue cheese, bacon and red onions) and then my silly coworkers stuffed my $ back in my pocket while I was doing a check on a baby. Another nurse even brought cookies for my birthday because I had told everyone I would bring treats on our next weekend cuz I was too busy getting ready for our trip.
So now I just hope I can get tomorrow off of work because I have SO MUCH TO DO to get ready for our trip.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Playdate & Camping Prep
The kids and I met a homeschooling family from our neighborhood at the last Classroom for a Day event that the Three Rivers Park District puts on. We thought it was a little ironic that we drove 30+ miles to Victoria, MN to meet a family who lives 6 blocks from us but we are glad to have found them.
We had great fun with the 5 and 7 yr old boys and their 4 guinea pigs! They are an unschooling family that doesn't watch any TV and it was neat to see someone really living that kind of a life. It is kind of my idealistic, romantic notion of what I would like to be doing, but don't feel able to for a variety of reasons.
The kids played very well together and now we are home and the baby is napping and I should be off the computer and getting ready for our camping trip!!!!! I am stressed/excited/anxious about the packing aspect of it at this point but I think it will be really fun once we are on our way. Joss is about to drive me over the edge because she is so excited that she never SHUTS UP about it! I am glad she is happy, really, but it is all she EVER, EVER talks about. It has spawned many relevant writing assignments, though! She also has a diary that she is looking forward to using to record her trip. You can tell it isn't real to Zeff though, because the only thing he mentions looking forward to is the M&Ms he spotted in the camping goody bag. And he mentions those at least 30 times a day!
Uh-oh, much sadness. Gotta go!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

I've been tagged...

3 names I go by: Katy, Kate, Katelyn

3 Screenames I've had: hucster63, katynurse, kmiller14

3 Physical Things I like about myself: My hair, my figure now that I've lost all the pre-babies weight, my hands.

3 Parts of my heritage: German, Irish, Polish

3 Things I'm wearing right now: Birkenstock clogs, scrub pants I actually paid for and my nursing assistant scrub shirt from when I was 16 (I just got off work and it is past laundry day)

3 favorite bands/musical artist: Eminem, Dr. Dre and everything that came from him and his label (which would include Eminem), Violent Femmes

3 Favorite songs: No Rain (Blind Melon), Stairway to Heaven (led zep), Blister in the Sun (Violent Femmes)

3 Things I want in a relationship: respect, sense of humor, common values

3 Physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to me: smile, eyes, arms (my honey has VERY nice arms)

3 Favorite Hobbies: Gardening, Biking, being outside

3 Things I want to do badly right now: Fire all nurses at my work that do not truly support breastfeeding (yeah, I did have a frustrating day today), sleep till I wake up because I had enough sleep, not because the kids are awake. Have a glass of really good white wine.

3 Things that scare me: ticks, hemmorrhaging (my patients or me), the unfairness of life

3 of my everyday essentials: caffeine, internet, being around my kids.

3 careers you have considered or are considering: Midwifery, no longer want to do it but used to want to, Lactation consultant, writer

3 Places you want to go on vacation: Netherlands, Spain, Australia

3 Kids names you like: Zubeyda, Xander, Saffron (no, I don't think I am allowed to use any of them)

3 Things you want to do before you die: Travel to Europe, live a long, healthy life, see my kids grow to be happy, responsible adults.

3 Ways I'm stereotypically a girl: Love babies, like to giggle with my best friend/cousin, will endure physical pain to avoid hurting someone's feelings (really, I had a horrible massage the other day and I never told the massage therapist that it hurt, cuz I didn't want to make her feel bad).

3 Ways I'm stereotypically a boy: N/A (But I kinda have some: nothing grosses me out, don't wear jewelry or makeup cuz don't see the point)

3 Celebrity crushes: Luka on ER, River Pheonix before he died, Angelina Jolie, sorry but she is hot and I LIKE her lips.

I tag KateW, Tenniel and Marianne who will have to answer in my comments because she doesn't have a blog yet, although she needs one!

PS I know that Kate, Tenn and Marianne all prob think this is kinda silly, but I think that is even more reason why they should do it!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Fun Day at Work
I had a really fun day at work today. They called me in early so I got there at about noon. I took care of two recently delivered moms on Labor & Delivery and got them and their stuff and babies out to the post-partum floor and then spent the rest of day shift taking care of just them. This was great because I got to help both of them with their breastfeeding challenges (one had a mastectomy on one side and another had breast reduction surgery) within the first hours after birth, which is optimal, but not always how it happens when we are busy.
I really enjoyed being able to focus on just two families, and especially to be helping with the breastfeeding. I love being able to help people really early, before they can make mistakes that make it more difficult (poor latch->sore nipples, bottling->nipple confusion). And new babies are so awesome about wanting to eat and being alert, it can be so hard to teach them when they are 6 hours old and have been bathed and want to just shut down for the next 18 hours.
So, then I was extra from 3-7 but stayed very busy helping the post-partum nurses get started and then going over to L&D to finish recovering a mom and bring her out. This was my favorite family of the night, mostly because she was so receptive to the BF teaching and her baby was such a great eater. She also had a lovely, respectful, helpful family, which made it fun.
When I started in the nursery, it should have been fine, as I only had one bath to do and one new baby from a section to finish doing checks on. Unfortunately my new baby couldn't maintain his body temperature and had a dangerously low blood sugar so I ended up having to transfer him to the Special Care Nursery. Though we got baby up there quickly, it was still a time-consuming process and got me behind in the nursery.
Almost as soon as I transferred that baby I got another baby into my nursery with some respiratory distress. He maintained his O2 sats but was doing a lot of work to breathe so I kept him undressed in a warmer where I could observe him closely. It is hard watching a kid work to breathe and I tried various interventions without much success. Had orders from the peds for if he dropped his sats, but otherwise was observing him. Finally called SCN, to come eval as I just didn't feel right about him. I was glad I did because they came down and did a thorough assessment and discussed their findings with me so I could learn from the situation and did a deep suction (which I cannot do), brought up TONS of crap, and shortly thereafter the kid was breathing easily and crashed out into an exhausted sleep. Poor little guy, I hope he's doing better tonight.
Does it seem weird that having people with breastfeeding challenges and sick babies is fun? I guess I am at the point where I like when everything is normal, but it is sometimes a little boring. It is nice to know you are handling a tough situation just the way it should be and people are more comfortable, safer, whatever because of you. It's not exactly "fun", maybe satisfying is a better word.
PS Not sure I did everything perfectly with respiratory baby, but I did OK and I learned what to do better next time.