Posted by: Ingrid | March 19, 2017

Marathon lite: Quarterly report

Nursing school is famous for “owning” its students. When you add up class time, clinical time, extra-things-added-to-the-schedule-time, and homework time, it demands a big chunk of the best part of your life.

Which is why I signed up for a marathon.

No really. That is exactly why I paid money to register for the REVEL marathon in June. Twelve of the sixteen weeks of training will coincide with my second semester of nursing school, leaving me four weeks after finals to peak, taper, and run the race. Even though things are crazy and it feels like there isn’t enough time to fit everything in (and there’s not – I just just cleaned the bathroom for the first time in three weeks because I am on spring break), I really dislike feeling like I am completely owned by one thing. So call this marathon my attempt to feel a little more sane and a little more myself.

That said, trying to figure out a training plan that is flexible and doesn’t involve too much structure but also makes me feel like I am actually training is challenging. It is mentally difficult as well, knowing how I would like my next marathon attempt to go while knowing that I can’t put in the training that would require. I looked at the plan that was created for me when I ran Boston two years ago and it is a thing of beauty. I can’t believe everything that is listed. Unfortunately, it does not fit at all into my current schedule of crazy. I have pulled together mileage from a Hal Higdon plan, an “easy” plan put out by Runner’s World, and the bare bones of my long runs from my Boston plan and tried to form what so far has been a tenuous alliance of running plans that are then thwarted by sick children, daylight savings, and early clinical mornings.

My goals: To get in my long runs and keep decent mileage( 40+ miles now, 50-ish when I hit my three 20+ mile run weeks). The marathon I chose runs down the Rockies. And by down, I mean they bus you up to 10, 500 feet and let you go. I am pretending that my pace will be 7:35-ish because I am a fan of the “think system” and because it is hard to let goals go. Also, it is hard to believe that running downhill won’t help my pace, though it will simultaneously trash my legs.

My plan: Run consistent mileage and focus on the long run. Run fast miles at race pace during some runs and do fartleks when I need to change things up. I will probably keep the segments of race pace running and hills in my long runs as well, just to make things more interesting.

Weeks 1-4 highlights:

1: Long run of 10 miles with 27 miles for the week.

2: Long run of 11 miles with 31 miles for the week.

3: Long run of 9 miles with 31 miles for the week.

4: Long run of 15 miles with 40 miles for the week.

25% of the way there!

 

Posted by: Ingrid | March 5, 2017

Ten Months: Mostly bullet points

Dear Wesley,

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This post is brought to you, a day late, by bullet points, a high level of procrastination, and a mixed drink made from a blue raspberry Koolaid and rum. Which, incidentally, would taste way better with a beach nearby, a tiny umbrella, and much less stress.

You are almost one!  I can’t believe it!  I apparently don’t want to believe it, as I keep trying to stick you in 6 month clothes, giving you that fashionable 3/4 length look that all the babies are wearing.

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At 10 months:

-You crawl like you are on a mission (and you usually are) – to grab cat food, pull cables, and remove socket protectors from the wall.

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-You have so far destroyed my Garmin connector cable, dented my lap top, ripped a book,ruined a white noise machine, and pulled the air purifier down on top of you. When you aren’t on a hunt-and-destroy mission you are pulling the broom down on your head and gumming everyone’s socks.

-You have four teeth! Two on top and two on the bottom. Every bad teething night was a night before a clinical shift when I had to be up early. Also, with only 4 teeth you STILL manage to do that horrible grind-the-teeth thing that makes me cringe.

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-You still sleep, partially swaddled, in the crib in Lily’s room. Sometimes you sleep through the night.

-You are pushing and pulling up to standing now, looking like it’s the most natural thing in the world.  You love to crawl to me when I kneel on the floor, push to standing, and then head butt my stomach.

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-You have started taking a bottle again at day care. Mostly you still just nurse, although you have sampled some baby food and enjoy the occasional Gerber puff. On Valentine’s Day you tried eating stickers, but that didn’t go so well. You are over 19 pounds but have fallen from the 40th percentile to the 25th.

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-When you get mad you fling yourself backwards and cry, with complete disregard for where your head lands.

-The other night you had the best time playing with your brothers’ glow in the dark light sabers. It was pretty awesome and completely impossible to capture in pictures.

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-You love interacting and playing with your siblings and really would prefer it if one of us carted you around and held you all day long. And you get held way more than any of our other kids did when they were babies.

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-You have grown hair, but you still look so much like your daddy and Jonathan.

-You still chase the cat, to the point where he had to lay a warning paw on your forehead last week to encourage you to stop mauling him.

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-When I put my nose against your cheek your rooting reflex still kicks in and you try to latch on.

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-You are incredibly ticklish and have a delightful chortling sort of laugh.

-You move a lot and it is almost impossible to get good pictures of you now because you are a blur.

I love you to the moon and back

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Love,

Mom

Posted by: Ingrid | February 3, 2017

Nine Months: Live for the applause

Dear Wesley,

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Just when I thought your crawling couldn’t get any cuter you sprouted teeth and learned to sit up and clap. My favorite thus far was when you intentionally tipped over the cat food and then gave yourself a round of applause for your dexterity and for making it past mom and getting all the way to the food dish. It’s like the precursor to video games – tip the cat food without getting caught.

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If I could keep you here, crawling around with socks in your mouth and clapping so intently as you stare at us (you know it’s an attention getter), I would do it for at least three more months. It’s such a precious stage. And you do have a sock radar. You climbed a large pile of clean clothes last night and, without missing a beat, came down the other side with your sock in your mouth. On the other hand, it’s rather a nasty shock when it’s my sock you’ve been gnawing on.

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Speaking of gnawing, those long awaited teeth have finally moved in just a few weeks back. All of that drooling accomplished something, I guess, and you have both of your bottom front teeth. You are still in the phase where you feel them over and over with your tongue with a puzzled expression on your face but have no problem nipping me with your little mouth razors. Baby teeth are sharp! And babies with teeth have a wicked sense of humor!

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You may have teeth, but the only “foods” you have been halfway interested in are paper and amoxicillin. You developed an ear infection last week and sound like Darth Vader in miniature. Then, yesterday, all three of your siblings were diagnosed with strep, so we have antibiotic parties twice a day where I plunk four containers on the counter and serve up drinks. Amoxicillin on ice! And you like the stuff! But you won’t eat real food and you no longer take a bottle at day care, which means unless I come by to nurse you don’t eat. Which leaves me and your day care provider in a bad position when I have clinicals from 6:30 to 3:15. This is just a rough semester, and you getting sick and not eating are just icing on the cake of difficulty.

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You are really into moving around and cause and effect these days. You like to go from the cat dish, pull a straw out of the dishwasher, and then pull the dish towel off and crawl away with it clamped in your mouth. You like anything you can aggressively open and shut or pull back and forth, and you really like to crawl head down in your car seat. Your most epic cause and effect involved you pulling my computer off the table via the computer cord. Fortunately the computer did not land on your head and still works (though the edge is now broken). You are pretty equal opportunity about finding something to do in any room of the house, but some choices, say, the toilet brush in the bathroom, are more dicey than others. You also like to push to standing whenever possible, which makes me think that you are going to think about exploring alternative means of transportation in the near future. That just makes me sad.

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Your sleep seems to be doing pretty well. Often you will sleep from 8 to 6:30, but you always make sure that one of your siblings has scheduled a bad dream or empty water bottler to ensure that I do not, in fact, sleep completely through the night. You are doing great in the crib in Liliana’s room and I am still quasi swaddling you, by swaddling your arms and then flipping the blanket between your legs. You are 19 pounds of pure baby muscle, so swaddling hardly contains you, but I feel like it helps your sleep a little. Maybe.

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It has been a delight watching you interact with yourself in the mirror. You make eye contact and then head butt your reflection. I’m not sure why you think you’re a baby battering ram, but you do. Whenever you’re upset, you come and do the same thing to my ankles, like you’re trying to beat me into picking you up.

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And you do get picked up a lot, so maybe it works. When you are really upset you settle, crying, into a full downward dog with your head on the floor and your bottom straight up in the air. I don’t know where you learned this, because I don’t do yoga.

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You chase Poseidon around now, and he looks like he lives in a permanent state of feline discomfort. I think it’s hilarious. Sometimes, though, he will snuggle against your head while you nurse, so I like to think that he secretly thinks you’re okay.

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Best of all, I’m pretty sure you head butted my ankles and said, “mama” yesterday. You are just that adorable and smart.

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Love,

Mom

 

 

Posted by: Ingrid | January 6, 2017

Eight Months: Crawling and baby eviction notices

Dear Wesley,

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Only a few days late this month! During month eight we evicted you from our room and did something we have never done before. We put you with another sibling. At the point you were waking me every 1.5 hours and I was feeling a bit frayed around the edges, we ousted Lily from her crib, put you in, and discovered that I really only have to wake up with you once or twice a night. We also discovered that Lily is a solid sleeper because by the time I hear you you are yowling. Why is it that all your siblings can sleep through you screaming but instantly wake up if I get up at 5:30 to read?

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This month you discovered all sorts of movement. A month ago you were content to roll across the room. You spent a great deal of time in December being frustrated because you were unable to go from your stomach to sitting and back again. Then all of a sudden you were up on all fours. Then, right before Christmas you started to crawl. Two days later you were proficient in crawling. That night, I walked into the bathroom and discovered that you had pushed up onto your feet using Lily’s pink potty.

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I cried. You are so quick with the crawl, your little legs swishing back and forth like pistons. You are so curious and keep getting underfoot and stuck in the chairs. Occasionally you do some baby yoga – your downward dog is coming along nicely -and other times you take a hand off the ground as if to say, Here come the one-handed push ups!

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You are sprouting fuzzy hair, still have blue eyes, and are such a chub! You were 18 lbs 11 oz on December 20 and your 6 month clothes are looking decidedly tight. You still have no teeth but your location is made clear by the trail of drool you leave across the floor.

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You didn’t pull down the Christmas tree this year, and that feels like a win.

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You do actively pull the cat’s tail now, and that feels like a disaster waiting to happen now that you can hunt him down. Also, I am afraid that you think you are a dog. You crawl around with your socks between your gums and the other day you crawled up to me with a rope in your mouth like you wanted to be walked.

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You are happy and curious until you get tired and then you hunt me down, crawling toward me as though you were crawling through a desert in search of water. When you are roughly in grabbing distance of my ankles, you sprawl out on the floor as if it has all been just too much for you. Melodrama anyone?

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It is incredibly cute to see you crawl towards people when you are called, though. Because Liliana never crawled and didn’t walk until 22 months, I feel like we haven’t seen this stage in years. I love it so much. We have already put a gate at the basement steps because you may have started to tumble down them once.

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We finally started you on solids after Christmas. Aside from the fact that you don’t like rice cereal, or apple sauce, or avocado, or spoons, it seems to be going well.

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You like bananas, and you will eat if your daddy puts food on his fingers and lets you suck it off. Other than that, you still nurse well and I am enjoying reading something other than text books while on break.

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You make great big noises, like you are trying to speak whale, interspersed with normal baby sounds (gagoo and dada) and your own dolphin language that involves clicking your tongue.

Your siblings LOVED you this month.

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They fight to sit next to you, Isaac hauls you around despite you being almost half his weight, and they talk to you, provide you with toys, and interact.

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You respond by being delighted, squealing, trying to grab them, and thinking they are pretty funny. You actually think a lot of things are funny and getting a response from you is fantastic. All the baby laughter and crows of delight make the tiredness worth it, for sure. Just please, baby boy, SLOW DOWN. This is all going way too fast.

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Love,

Mom

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Posted by: Ingrid | January 1, 2017

2017 Resolutions

I would resolve to make fewer resolutions this year, but that would take up a resolution, so I won’t. My desire to pare things down is colliding with my desire to list all the things. The list maker in me won and I had to have 17 resolutions. I love my lists!

  1. Date my husband once a month. We have been perfecting the art of the hour long Fiesta’s date. Even with 4 margaritas and a dinner the babysitting bill for 4 kids for one hour will probably be higher than the food.
  2. Complete, enjoy, and do well in the second semester of nursing school.
  3. Complete, enjoy, and do well survive the third semester of nursing school.
  4. Complete one big house project.
  5. Finish the back porch furniture and make the porch look pretty.
  6. Be intentional with the time I spend with my kids, particularly during the semester. This means not multitasking when doing things with them, trying to be present in the moment, and doing scheduled things.
  7. Finish teaching Jonathan to read before he begins kindergarten.
  8. Take Isaac running with me sometimes.
  9. Potty train the princess.
  10. Attend parenting classes again. I am a little afraid that these might be addictive. I can’t wait to go back!
  11. I have a trinity of athletic events that I would love to do this summer: a marathon in June that I am already signed up for, an ultramarathon in July (not a big one, just a 50 km), and hiking a 14er (or a pair of 14ers) in August. My realistic goal, given the fact that I am in school for 16 weeks and that I want to remain married to my long suffering husband, is to do 2/3 of the list, probably the marathon and the 14er.
  12. Read 30 new books.
  13. Hire a personal trainer at some point to work on strength training (sub goals: do a pull up and climb a rope.)
  14. Travel to 4 new places in Colorado.
  15. Consistently read some type of devotional throughout the year.
  16. Make time to write and journal even during the busy times.
  17. My focus this year, comes from Sara Groves’ song Add to the Beauty. It’s a song I’ve loved for a long time, and if I could unravel in words what I wish my life could look like because of these thoughts or what I wish I could do differently to make these concepts come alive in my life, I would. I do want to pay attention to the moments that I have with people and do what I can to make life more meaningful and lovely for myself and the people around me.

We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold

Redemption comes in strange place, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are

And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
I want to shine with the light
That’s burning up inside

Bonus resolution: Finish watching the extra Gilmore Girls episodes and all of Call the Midwife.

Second bonus resolution: Find additional hours in the day so I can complete all of these resolutions!

 

Posted by: Ingrid | December 31, 2016

2016 Resolution Recap

Having not looked at my resolutions since having a baby, it was fun to pull them up and see how things went. I completed 8 of the 17 and gave myself and additional .33 points for another 3 resolutions. 2016 was definitely an interesting year and I am thinking I may need fewer resolutions for 2017.

Resolutions 2016

  1. Read 50 books. I read 82.
  2. Enjoy the rest of pregnancy #4 and have a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby. Last pregnancy complete, delivery successful, baby delightful. Pregnancy not necessarily enjoyable, but whatever.
  3. Refinish the back porch and make pallet furniture. We got the back and front porches resurfaced and I got pallets but nothing lovely has come of it yet. I will bump this to my to-do this this May.
  4. Find 6 sustainable homesteading type activities to implement. Yeah, this didn’t happen even a little. Too busy with baby, kids, and school.
  5. Travel to South Dakota to see family.  Done! And done successfully too. We rocked the road-trip-with-a-newborn event.
  6. Write some sort of will or living trust or whatever one responsibly puts in place when one has scads of children. Nope. 
  7. Take a parenting class.  We did two and loved them!
  8. Transition to non-pregnant running and PR in something. I didn’t do any real training and my only event for the entire year was a low key 5K.
  9. Catch up on the baby books that I have not touched all year. Nope. Must do this this year.
  10. Lose the baby weight plus 3 pounds. Done! And boy does that feel good.
  11. Be intentional about my spiritual life. This never makes a good resolution, but I add it because I care about this aspect of my life. It’s not measured well and I still feel like I’m floundering. I can’t have what I want or maybe I just don’t know what I want.
  12. Tighten up the budget since we are going to be making 6% less this year. School has been way more expensive than planned, which frustrates me to no end. Life has been more expensive. The budget is not making me happy.
  13. Try 36 new recipes. I tried 168 new recipes!
  14. Write at least one letter or birthday card a month. This fell off the to-do list probably around April. Oh well.
  15. Enter the Nursing program. Program entered and one semester has been completed.
  16. Find an effective sustainable weight routine that gets results.  Bonus resolution: climb a rope and do a pull up. I feel like I have resolved this many times and I still didn’t even make headway on it this year unless pinning workouts on Pinterest counts.

Superfluous and frivolous resolution: Finish all the seasons of The Office and Gilmore Girls and watch Downton Abbey as the episodes air online. Done!

Posted by: Ingrid | December 29, 2016

Keys to surviving your first semester of nursing school

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When people tell you nursing school is hard you should believe them. I had two roommates after I graduated from college who were in the fifth year of their nursing program. I knew they worked hard and yet, going into this semester, I still thought that I would have time to work on pinterest projects and do fun things, at least for the first few weeks. My rationale? I had 216 graduate and undergraduate credits to my name with a 4.0 in all and a degree. I’ve carried 21 credits a semester. I can do school. I took 8.5 credits last semester and I will be the first to tell you that it was hard. And that is an understatement. Here are a few things that you can do to make your transition to a different sort of educational process just a little easier.

  1. Be prepared to lower your standards. Do you value a clean house? Time with friends and family? Travel time? Hobby time? Home cooked meals? Seeing your significant other on a regular basis? Clean laundry that gets put away more than once a week? Nursing school will get in the way of everything you value and you will constantly wonder if you can balance things better or if you should just quit. You can’t do it all. You can’t have it all. Tell yourself it’s only four semesters (unless you’re in a BSN program) and just hang tight and try to cut yourself some slack.
  2. Your teachers don’t hate you or want you to fail. This may seem strange, but since so much is thrown at you at once in nursing school it seems easy to blame the teacher for the hard test, or material not learned, or things you don’t understand. Student nurses are stressed enough and doing poorly on an exam or assignment can suddenly make it seem like a teacher is out to get you. It is interesting being a student married to an instructor because I feel like it gives me a slightly different perspective. I am amazed at how much time nursing instructors pour into students. Classes are small and only yield results after two years and even then your students become nurses only if they pass the NCLEX. Retention is a big deal (we have gone from 22 to 15 students in one semester). These instructors could be making way more money working 3 12’s at a hospital but instead they are dealing with exhausted and stressed students who don’t know how to stage a pressure ulcer yet. Here’s the thing, at the end of two years of taking so many hard exams you aren’t really a nurse until you pass the NCLEX. And the NCLEX, in my mind, is a dispassionate force that doesn’t care. It doesn’t care if you got bad sleep or have test anxiety or if your dog died. It demands you pay hundreds of dollars to see if you are ready to become a nurse. So if tests in school feel difficult and you’re tempted to blame the instructor, remember that they’re trying to prepare you, in the end, to take the NCLEX and pass the first time.
  3. Push yourself. But not too hard. I spent the first 7 weeks doing nothing but nursing homework. Then I got to the beginning of week 8 and didn’t even want to open a book. I was so tired of pouring myself so completely into one thing. To ease the feeling of being owned by the nursing program, I started judiciously reading novels again while nursing Wesley. For perspective’s sake, I read 30 300-500 page novels between June 1 and August 25. Between October 18 and December 16 I read 4. So I really didn’t do that much extra reading but it was still a nice mental break. You have to push yourself enough to get things done but not so much that you want to quit in two months.
  4. Always be working on something. This was so hard for me because I like to work on one thing, get it done, and then move to the next thing. I found that nursing school means you always have multiple things going all the time. Reading for each class, a few study guides to fill out, paperwork to complete, forms to fill out – it just doesn’t end! I would work on some reading, look over power points, and do a certain number of pages a day on study guides, constantly in fear that I would forget to turn something in. Just don’t ever think that you get to stop or take a break.
  5. Follow the rules. This is sort of funny to even say, but it needs to be said. You jumped through all the hoops to get into nursing school but you will find a million more once you get in. Rules and rubric and all sorts of things that have to be remembered and followed. Here’s the thing. You may think it’s silly to have to show up at a certain time, or trade in your unicorn print scrubs for navy blue, or remember a watch with a second hand when you show up for clinicals, or cover up your tattoo. Just do it. If it was worth it to you to get into school it’s worth it to follow the rules to stay there. You won’t lose your individuality in four semesters and it’s just not worth losing the points. You can talk about how much it bothered you to follow your nursing school rules with your therapist once you are an RN and have a job.
  6. Find the things you do that keep you grounded and sane. You will need this. Nursing school is so all-encompassing that you need to keep a few things that make you feel like a human being. For me, it meant continuing to run, cooking (when I had time), and a little fun reading. Just be warned that you can’t do all the things you’d like to do. There just won’t be time.
  7. Be nice. Here’s another one that seems pretty obvious but needs to be said. First, if you want to be very pragmatic, your fellow students will be practicing their first attempts at injections and IV starts on you, so it behooves you to be nice to them. Beyond that, you are in a constant state of stress as a student and you are constantly around other classmates, instructors, stressed and ill patients, and stressed nurses with whom you interact at clinical sites. This is a lot of stress and has great potential for backbiting, gossip, name calling, and all sorts of things that can be very divisive. Yes, people are going to bother you. If you have trouble with another person, go to the individual and deal with it directly. Try to find a person or two who you can say anything to so that you don’t end up with too much pent up frustration. Above all, remember that you have no idea what the people you brush shoulders with are dealing with or thinking at any given time. We watched this little video put out by Cleveland Hospital several times during the semester. Because I am the sort of person who feels like no one ever actually knows what is going on in my head, it makes perfect sense to me and is how I generally look at the world. So you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, but be nice and be polite. It goes a long way.

These are my survival suggestions for semester one, and the list is not comprehensive! If all else fails, turn, cough, deep breathe, and ambulate while eating small frequent meals of green leafy vegetables.

Good luck!

Posted by: Ingrid | December 19, 2016

Belated Seven Months: The lost month

Dear Wesley,

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Do I really remember what you were doing and what amazing developmental milestones you were hitting from November 3rd through December 3rd? Not really. Because clinicals. And finals. And not enough sleep. At the end of the semester everyone was talking about getting more sleep and I’m like, only if someone wants to adopt a cute baby who doesn’t believe in sleeping longer than 3 hours at a time. Right around the beginning of clinical rotations your sleep went south and it has been painful. You wake up every 2 to 3 hours and sometimes stay awake for a few hours. I’m surprised I didn’t fall asleep in class. Or on the road. Or while I was trying to feed a patient.

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Aside from the sleep you are a delight. So curious and inquisitive. I can tell that you just want to do all the things. You want to move and sit and crawl. Not that you have figured anything out beyond rolling incessantly, pivoting in circles, and wedging yourself under furniture.

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That has to be one of my favorite (fleeting) stages of baby-hood, when the baby wants to go forward and can’t figure out why they keep scooting backwards. You roll so fast now that we never leave you unattended unless we need to get the camera to take pictures of you falling off the bed (#fourthkid?).

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You can sit if you are placed on the floor, but you haven’t figured out how to get there on your own.

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You are a little mover though!  It’s not pretty, but it’s definitely effective. I should dress you in a Swiffer onesie and let you clean the floor while you roll. You can get up on all fours when you are mad, but that’s about it so far.

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You love your bouncer, you love spoons thrown on the floor, you love playing peek-a-boo, and you LOVE your siblings.

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You also love Grandpa. Sometimes he creeps up the stairs making noises and you are just beside yourself, looking around and trying to figure out where he is.

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We haven’t started you on solids yet because I couldn’t even think for those last few weeks of the semester, let alone start something new. It was hard enough to feed the people who could actually eat. Fortunately you are happy nursing and I was happy to be able to read over my powerpoints for Pharmacology and Fundamentals. And two novels, I won’t lie. So no food yet, but you now sit at the table with us and fling things off your tray. The gravity game never gets old. The game of “grab the cat” is also amping up. Poseidon hates you from afar whenever possible.

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When you do sleep, you almost immediately flip onto your tummy with your bottom in the air. Sometimes you flip while I’m laying you down, which may or may not mean that one time you got dropped because you caught me off guard when you flipped out of my hands.

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At the end of Thanksgiving I made an aside comment while driving the kids around. Probably related to your inability to sleep and along the lines of “I’m going to send you back where you came from.” Your sister piped up from the back and asked, “Back to Miss Joycie’s house, mom?” (your daycare provider – since apparently that’s where you came from?). But no, despite the lack of sleep you have won me over with your agreeable joviality and the fact that you are just so deliciously cute.

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Love,

Mom

Posted by: Ingrid | December 16, 2016

First semester acknowledgements and thanks

Last week, on the final night of clinicals when I was pulling something marvelous together for dinner (probably peanut butter sandwiches or cold pizza), Isaac wandered by, glanced at me speculatively, and asked, So, how many more weeks until mom is a doctor? With a horrified look on his face, my husband assured our child that I was never going to be a doctor because did he have any idea how many years that would take?

That said, I now have one semester of nursing school under my gait belt. Enough time to be properly euphoric that I finished well and properly terrified at the prospect of three more semesters and the NCLEX. Seriously, if you know a nurse, congratulate her on finishing school. If you are a nurse, pat yourself on the back and pour yourself a glass of wine. Who knew this was so difficult?

At the semester’s end, I am overwhelmed with gratitude towards the various people who have made this possible. Not only does it take a village to raise a child, it also takes one to send an adult back to school.

To my husband: Who, even at the end of a round of clinicals could still look at me and say, This is worth it. Who is willing to support my dreams even though we are all slightly more insane because of it. Who took 3/4 kids to work almost every weekend so that I could study and dropped 3 kids off at 3 different locations and picked them up almost every school day. Who dealt with me crying, complaining, threatening to quit school, verbally processing catheters and wounds, and going to bed at 8:30 pm – thanks for keeping me moving forward.

To my dad: He graciously stayed an additional few months to help out during the first semester and I am so thankful that he did. Never underestimate the power of a third adult. It was always so sweet to come home to find Grandpa and Wesley hanging out. I have tried without success to think of a way to get him on the “no fly” list without getting him sent to jail just to keep him here for the next semester (or three).

My kids: Who watched in bewilderment as I cried on a weekly basis, lost my temper and apologized more frequently, and forgot to fix dinner often. I feel like I have hardly been around for the last few months. For all that I haven’t had time to make cold lunches for school, do fun things, or even go to the library (couldn’t handle having to keep track of extra books), they still hug me at the end of the day and seem to be okay.

To my friend, Jen, who called me at least an average of 2 times a week all semester long. She even called me and left messages when she knew I wouldn’t pick up, and that’s dedication. Nursing school is isolating, so that really meant a lot. Thanks, friend!

Anyone who made any sort of encouraging remark about not quitting school during the last 16 weeks on Facebook, especially my Aunt J and my FG.

For the scholarship I was granted and subsidized childcare, without which school would be financially impossible, thank you.

To my running shoes, which have put in 409 miles since school started despite a fully messed up schedule and a new baby. You are better than any benzodiazepine or antidepressant without the nasty side effects.

I have never been so excited for Christmas break!

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Ingrid | December 1, 2016

Thirty-seven

Once upon a time, for many many years, whenever I arrived at my birthday, all I could think about was how to create a protective shell around the emptiness that I felt. If somehow I could simultaneously have cute clothes that fit, be at the perfect weight, have hair that looked good, whiten my teeth, and figure out the key to makeup application the rest of life would fall into place. If I could organize the chaos of the external, maybe the internal would follow suit and life would be full and meaningful and I would be happy.

It never happened. Life has remained too fluid, too chaotic, and too messy for my external checklist to be realized (though hat tip to Nursing School that has taken off all the baby weight plus a few pounds -thanks!) and I have grown up enough to realize that none of those things would have made me happy anyway.

If anything, these past few months packed with uncertainty, exhaustion, tears, and interesting information and experiences has shown me that you can sometimes feel most alive when you come home exhausted from a long day at clinicals and your kids dog-pile you and clamor to tell you everything that happened and most happy when you lie on the floor with your baby and watch him try to pull the cat’s tail. Life is just weird like that.

This time, as I hit another birthday (and yes, suddenly 37 seems dangerously near to 40 which makes me feel that I’m almost 50 because they are only separated by a decade) I want to remind myself today of things that I might tell myself in another 37 years. I know that if I could now give advice to myself half a lifetime ago I would have such sensible things to say. With that in mind, maybe I can listen to the advice I have been given by people who are further along the path of life than I am.

  1. You can’t do it all. This has never been more apparent to me than right now. I may have dreamed of being mother of 4, doing all the pinterest projects, hanging out with my husband, semi-educating my children at home while reading books and training for an ultramarathon all while going to Nursing School, getting straight A’s, cooking healthy dinners, spending quality time with everyone, keeping the house organized and clean, and being mindful of friendships and self-care. Yeah. The bar has been set way low over here by week 14.  We eat pop tarts. (Who am I kidding, we ate pop tarts before that too, and they aren’t even organic.)
  2. Keep the things that you love and don’t bother with the other things.
  3. Don’t shut down your dreams and ideas (or other people’s). Life is stranger and has more potential than you will ever guess.
  4. Don’t be so hard on yourself. This seems to be a common theme I get from people, including instructors, so I am trying to tell myself now that it’s okay to be my own best ally instead of my worst enemy.
  5. Find the people who make you come alive and don’t despair if it seems like they’re hard to find.
  6. Hug and hold and touch the people you love because you don’t know how long you get them. I have never been more acutely aware of this as I am now as I interact with the elderly population in the hospital and extended care. Take nothing for granted, it’s all a gift.
  7. If you want to say something, don’t wait for people to draw it out of you because they probably won’t and you’ll just be annoyed.
  8. Even if you speak the language of guilt fluently, try not to let it drive everything you do.
  9. Little moments matter more than perfectly fulfilling your plans, especially when kids are involved.
  10. You will never regret loving people more, even if it hurts. And it will hurt.

I think that is plenty of advice to see me through the next year along with the words of Sara Groves in her song This Cup. I generally have some sort of song that I am “feeling” when my birthday rolls around. This year, with life upended and crazy and not enough of me to go around my goal and my prayer is to be right here. Here in the present instead of worrying about what lies a month down the road or wishing life were somehow different; easier and more pulled together.

So take up what we’ve been given
Welcome the edge of our days
Hemmed in by sunrise and sunset
By our youth and by our age
Thank God for our dependence
Here’s to our chasm of need
And how it binds us together
In faith and vulnerability

This cup, this cup
I wanna drink it up
To be right here in the middle of it
Right here, right here
This challenging reality
Is better than fear or fantasy

 

 

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