Saturday, 5 May 2012

Moving on to Bigger and Better Things

My nursing clinical experience this semester has been nothing short of a headache, to say the least. Clinical is a substantial task itself, but when factoring all the nonsense I endured with the college and scheduling and whatnot, it was almost enough to make a grown girl give up. I went from being juggled around rotations to a new group lucky enough to endure a less than average instructor (to put it politely). But the details are not what's important, but what is is that I am stronger because of it and I've come away with a group of great friends. 

Six more friends to be more specific, actually make that seven. The girls in my group welcomed me mid-rotation, but our instructor, Anne, was amazing. Faced with the challenge of repairing us from the previous rotation, it was no easy task to re-instill our confidence and competence as nursing students. But Anne was successful and was a great mentor. Really she was more than a teacher to us, she was also a friend and confidant. I've rarely seen any instructors sit to eat lunch with the students, because it's difficult to play both roles. And apparently it's frowned upon by some of the other instructors. 

Walking out of clinical for the last day was bittersweet. We were all so glad to be done, but a little sad to depart knowing the chances are slim to be in the same group with any of us girls again. But we made the best of it, and went out for lunch afterwards. We laughed a lot and cried a little, since we had all been through so much together. But I have to admit all of us are ready for the summer break. And the prospect of returning to school, at the University next semester, is definitely something worth celebrating. 

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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Playing Ball with the Boys

At the beginning of the year, I had come the not-so-easy conclusion that I needed to make some changes in my routine. As a wife and a mother, a full-time student, and participation in many other things that I could compile a huge list on, I was burning out. Or really, already burnt out. I could no longer pretend to be a wonder woman wanna-be. So it came time to simplify. But that was not possible in all areas, so rather it became prioritizing. Some decisions were easy, others required much thought, but of my conclusions are such:
  • My family comes first. Not that they weren't ever my first priority, but I could do more with them and less elsewhere. 
  • It became easier than I expected to stop working, which wasn't entirely my decision to make (and this is why). 
  • Good grades in school are attainable in most other programs besides nursing at the college, so why invest the time when it doesn't pay off? and ultimately it doesn't matter. 
  • It's important for houses to be clean, but spotless isn't worth losing sleep over. 
  • Down time is essential, and doing hobbies and completing projects doesn't count. I'll admit, Ryley had to help me differentiate, (and my relationship with books (not textbooks) is better than ever. and popcorn too.)
And so on I went, over the Christmas holidays, reorganizing and reevaluating my priorities. I was back to school lickety-split, and feeling better about my new outlook.

I was approached by Harmoni shortly after the semester began to see if I'd like to play basketball again.
I hadn't remembered this commitment over the holidays, so I had to think about this with my revised approach. After some deliberating, I came to the conclusion that even though I'm busy and stressed, I needed to do something for myself. And realistically, exercise is one of the best ways to combat stress. Yes it would mean another obligation and schedule coordination, but it was a small amount of time that would have many benefits.

So as I have already introduced Harmoni, to the blog, there are 6 other guys who play on the team that I have had the opportunity to get to know a little bit over the past two semesters. Granted I would probably be able to know them better if I took them up on the opportunity to join them for drinks after our playoff games, but most days I had been up at 5 am for clinical, so all that I could think about was going to bed.

We were never the best team on the roster, but we did win consolation which was a great way to end the tournament. I don't think our team will be rejoining again in the fall as a good portion of the guys graduated this year. But hopefully I can join a different group or assemble another team since I'll finally be at the University. I've heard good things about it, and I couldn't be happier to be finished at the college.

After many many days of waiting for a copy of the team picture, I give up. This is the best I could come up with.
Not great, I know. 

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Monday, 9 April 2012

A Pirate's Prayer

Please help us have a piratey day,
bless the food,
help us to have fun,
help us to find holy treasure,
and to not find bad pirates,
bless all the pirates at the party,


This was AJ's Pirate Prayer at his 5th birthday party. Grayson was super excited about this party because he knew all the fun things that birthday parties involve now. I've come to learn that when Lacey hosts an event, that she goes all the way. And this party was no exception. It was all things pirate. Pirate pancakes, swabbing the deck, walking the plank and digging for treasure to name a few. 

I've never seen kids so eager to pick up a broom! Maybe Saturday chores needs a new title. 

Walking the plank earned you a pirate hat and matching sword. Grayson still  insists on wearing his hat around the house, and to bed if I would allow it. 

Donuts definitely taste better on a hook.
Maybe this approach would work to get Grayson to eat other, less popular, snacks, like apples.
I could cut the apples ring style instead. I see potential here... 

The kids had a blast filling their booty bags with all kids of loot they earned throughout the afternoon. I think the pirate pinata was a hit. But no pirate birthday is complete without a Batman cake! Right?

The shindig was successful with filling these kids full of sugar and sending them on their way in typical birthday party style. AJ was a happy little pirate, especially with a full treasure chest at the end of the day.

 Thanks for the fun afternoon Lacey!

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Unconventional Easter Fun

With any holiday comes many traditions and countless variations thereof. I had the fortunate opportunity to join Char-Lane to her family-in-law's Easter festivities. She mentioned her husband would be working, so she would love to have some company for the ride and for the afternoon. Ryley was going to be up in Calgary working longer than he expected, so I was excited to get out for the day and experience the annual egg-rolling. I conveniently had 2 dozen eggs in my fridge to hard-boil, and Grayson and I went to Char's place a little early to color them. Without fail we were met with Summer's happy jig when we arrived. 

Soon after we arrived the kiddos we sent on an Easter egg hunt, and shortly afterwards we headed out to the hill to roll some eggs. I've actually only heard of people rolling eggs down a hill, so I was a little excited to participate. We rolled a few, and sent the kids to fetch the unbroken eggs. After a couple rounds it was time to watch the guys see who could throw the farthest. We girls opted out of the distance  round as to avoid certain embarrassment. 

The highlight of the afternoon is when I learned more about this variation in family tradition. I was told that some years ago someone thought it would be a good idea to sacrifice themselves as a moving target for the avid egg throwers. This year two such targets volunteered for the occasion. I managed to get a few pictures of one contender in action.

Padded jacket on, hard hat in place, ready to go... 

He's off with egg's already in mid-air.

Tactical skills definitely an asset when dodging this kind of colorful ammunition.

The afternoon was less than ordinary and lots of fun. I didn't learn until after we had left that there was also a family Easter dinner that afternoon. It wasn't my intent to encroach on the family function, but I felt welcome and was met with friendly and some familiar faces. I appreciate the generosity of Char-Lane's extended family, and thank them for the food and the fun. This Easter has been memorable to say the least. 

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Saturday, 7 April 2012

An ~ Earth Friendly ~ Easter Event

Today we met the Easter Bunny! This year has been lots of fun because Grayson's little imagination has started to catch on to things like Halloween, Santa Claus and the Eater Bunny. He was super excited to go see the big fluffy candy-loving rabbit this morning and we couldn't get out the door fast enough. But of course, when the time came to actually sit with the Easter Bunny, he needed a little encouragement. Thank you Auntie Carly!

The Galt Museum here in Lethbridge usually has some sort of event going on each week. I know there's events for the children and families planned each Saturday, year round. For us it's just a matter of getting out and taking advantage of the community event and resources, such as the Galt.

In addition to meeting the Easter Bunny, there were lots of different -Earth friendly- things for the kids to do.

First we dyed Easter eggs with all natural colors. I'll admit the egg turned out better than I expected. The beet dye worked a little more efficiently than the others, but we were told that the other colors did work. It just takes time and patience, which all preschoolers have ample amounts of...  I'm not sure what the other dyes were made from, but after a little research I've found out that you can use blueberries, kale, turmeric, grape juice and coffee to dye eggs. But really. Brown eggs? That doesn't seem very festive.

We then stepped outside to color with some sidewalk chalk where we were greeted by some familiar faces. Angie and Anderson were out with her sister-in-law, Jolie, for the morning. It is sure becoming common occasion to see more people I know, and I love it. Angie told me that I need to go out for another visit to come see the lambs and baby goats. I'll expect to meet them goats in the near future.

Kite flying is also Earth friendly, and Grayson would not focus on the other activities inside until he had a turn. It was a small challenge to catch the kite in the wind, especially after getting tangled in the other kites, and with the kite itself  as Grayson experienced firsthand. I'll admit it was my highlight of the morning, the struggle it was somewhat amusing. But soon enough we got the kite and the kid coordinated and he was free to fly.

We finished up the morning decorating Grayson's eco-Easter tree. I was assigned the task to build the eggie sheep and Carly helped with the chicken. There were other goodies to add to his tree, but I think Grayson's attention span was spent, and we left before anyone got grumpy. 

I say so far this Easter's festivities have been a success, and Eco to boot. I love the 3 year-old imagination, and I'm looking forward to assembling the rest of the Easter goodies tonight. I actually really enjoy hiding the Easter candy, in addition to eating it. I'm looking forward to spending more time with family and friends, and less time with my textbooks. If this blog does nothing but help me get my priorities in order, it's already been a success. 

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Friday, 6 April 2012

A Colorful Birthday Bash

Grayson may only be 3 years-old, but I'm pretty sure I've already got my future daughter-in-law picked out. Too bad arranged marriages are not common practice around here.

Summer and Grayson have been good little friends for almost a year now. I think one of my favorite things about Summer is that she has no inhibitions when it comes to showing her emotions. When we go over to her house to play, we're greeted with a gasping grin followed by a happy little jig. Needless to say she's very animated; I think it's genetic. We got to experience this firsthand when we had Tom and Char-Lane (aka Toad and Chuck) over to play games a little while back.

I was so excited when Grayson got invited to his first birthday party. I don't think he entirely knew what to expect, but a house full of children may have been a slight surprise. But I think all was okay when we were received with the familiar happy jig.

Who ever thought it was a good idea to say "cheese" for a picture??
 It might work for a small  portion of people, Grayson is not one of them.

There were some new faces for Grayson and I, but some familiar ones as well. I'll admit I didn't recognize Kaylee first thing without her coat and toque, but it was nice to see her again. Lacey also stopped by for a couple minutes. I manged to catch up with her about her latest debate that we were regrettably unable to attend. It's too bad, it sounded like it would have been interesting. Hopefully there'll be a next time.

I was glad to stay and play with a houseful of 3 year-olds, and lend an extra pair of helping hands to the occasion. Conveniently the weather cooperated and we were able to take the kiddos out to play. I imagine things could have gotten a little loud inside had we not been able to burn a little energy off outside before we got to the presents. Because, you know, all 3 year-olds sit patiently and watch someone else opening presents... We parents may have had to intervene more than once.

After presents it was cake time. Summer had a special rainbow cake and the rest of us had rainbow cupcakes. I may have a small cupcake obsession, and rainbow cupcakes are no exception. There was also a rainbow fruit platter to go along with the rest of the rainbow decorations. The kids sure enjoyed hunting for their treat bags of gold at the end of the rainbow party.

After this successful party, I think I'm a little braver to host a birthday party for Grayson this year. But at the rate Grayson is making so many new friends, it may just be a bigger bash than I'm anticipating. At least his birthday isn't until July so I imagine I'll be hosting it outdoors.

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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Here's To Dreaming Big

I'm not sure when, but somewhere along the line we've all decided that dreaming is for kids. Oh yeah, we all try to say to ourselves that we think that dreaming big is important, and we tell our kids that. Or maybe we were told that as kids. I mean, weren't you ever told that you could be anything you want to be*?

*As long as that "anything" is a doctor, lawyer, or dentist...

I literally heard a person say once that the reason that a couple divorced is because he was a "dreamer". As if that was supposed to explain just how validated the divorce was.

Dreaming in conjunction with other traits can be a very bad thing. I'm sure we all know a dreamer who is lazy. Who talks constantly of all the neat things he's going to do, yet sits in front of his laptop writing blog posts all day.

I'd like to point out that it isn't the dreaming that's the problem, it's the lazy.

I have a niece that's pretty close to my age, so she's really more like a sister-in-law. Erika is her name, and she's a dreamer (now don't you dare attach any of the negative connotations to that word, we just went over that).

In her early 20's, Erika has already done several things that most people would consider "unconventional". She's lived (not vacationed) in Mexico. She's moved out to Vancouver to waittress and act on the side. She's sold her own original artwork for cash. She's been a model. She's performed several shows performing covers as well as original music. Among many other things.

And now she's getting ready to pack up and go to Dawson City, Yukon to work for a few months to get enough money to spend a year in Australia and then to tour Europe after that.

We try to get Erika to come by as much as we can. The reason is because when she comes by, she leaves me and Trish feeling energized. Excited. About all the things that we want to do in life before we get all crotchety. She reminds us how the days will slip by if we don't grab them. This is why you need a dreamer in your life.

Maybe you have a friend who is a dreamer. Maybe you are married to one. Heck, maybe you are one. Whatever the case, realize that these people are here to boost the rest of us. Dreamers have the unfortunate situation of having to go through life having 90% of people tell them that what they want to do isn't practical, or realistic. Who cares? What's the worst that can happen? Now that's just Erika talking.

So forget about all the reasons that you can't do something. Seriously, you only live once. And I'm willing to bet that whatever it is that you're dreaming about, telling yourself that you'll do it someday, will only get harder and harder to do with every passing day. So start on it now. Go hang out with a dreamer that you know, and be inspired. And if you try and fail, who cares? At least you tried, during the one chance that you had, the one life that you'll never get to live again.

So here's to dreaming big, and not worrying too much about the details. My family is full of dreamers (on both sides), and I'm saying that it's one of the biggest compliments that I can give.

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