Oh hi, blog! I’m back! #busy #iamback

Dear blog,

I miss you! How are you? I realize that things have changed a little since the last time I blogged, which, according to wordpress, was about a month ago. A month! Holy crap! I used to blog so often. Did I mention I miss you?

You see, blog, I am chasing a goal. It’s a difficult goal, and I’m trying to catch it. Catching it involves doing things like studying cell respiration and naming chemical reactions. My goal is to become a nurse.

But I digress. 

Blog, my bigger regrets in life (other than my tattoos) are the fact that I spent most of my teens and 20s taking the path of least resistance. If there was an opportunity to do something cool or new or DIFFERENT, I did not take it. Instead, I opted for the path of Stuff I’d Already Done Before and Felt Comfortable With. Like a pair of jeggings or well-worn yoga pants, I did not put on skinny jeans and heels and rock it.

Now I’m trying to rock it. It’s hard.

And when it feels overwhelming, which it often does, I remind myself that not only am I chasing a dream, I’m doing something NEW AND DIFFERENT AND CHALLENGING AND SCARY and that is a good thing. This is definitely the path of (most?) resistance and that is something completely new for me. But I won’t regret this. 

So, Blog, I can’t guarantee I’ll blog more often or regularly, or even continue you much. But I’ll try. 

Wish me luck, blog!

 

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PS. See, I’m still nursing, so some things never change. 

 

Throwback Thursday #throwbackthursday

This picture is from 10 years ago this week…

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Maya ring sling

There’s My (Babywearing) Chemical Romance with Animal (I think. It’s pretty difficult to tell them apart in old pics). He was in our apartment in San Diego.

 

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Animal and Mineral

10 years later and he has facial hair — and grey hair!

 

School Starts #firstdayofschool

Today (yesterday; I’m posting this on Tuesday) is my first day of school, Fall Semester 2013. Yeah, I took two classes during summer term, but they were both on topics I’d taken previously: English and math.

This semester I’m taking Chemistry 1 and Anatomy/Physiology 1. I’m also taking a Certified Nursing Assistant class in Raleigh.

(Flickr: Jumfer)

(Flickr: Jumfer)

I can totally do this but, wow. I’m mostly nervous about A/P because it’s a class that weeds out the strong from the weak. And I want to stay at the top of the pack. I’ve downloaded an app for recording lectures (I’ll ask the prof if we can record lectures before I do it), and I’m going to study like crazy.

Of course I’m also still homeschooling. I’m lucky to live only 7 minutes from school and to have a great babysitter for this semester. Also, I am married to My Chemical Romance, whose bachelor’s degree is in Chemistry and Biochemistry. Unfortunately I worry that my chemistry and A/P will be too basic for him to help! Plus he can’t take tests for me, obviously. So I need to learn this on my own.

This is all part of my plan to enter an accelerated nursing program in May 2015. It’s a program for students who already have their bachelor’s degree in another discipline and have experience working as a CNA in a facility. Which means I’ll need to start working once I pass my CNA test and clinical exam.

I am kind of scared, but I’m also excited about the opportunities that are coming my way, for my family, while I learn what it takes to become a nurse! A career I’ve wanted to pursue for years!

Book Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight #bookreview #reconstructingamelia

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

4/5 stars

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kimberlymccreight.com

This book was a mystery, thriller, horrifying/intriguing-for-mothers read. Kate is a single mom of Amelia, an excellent student at a Park Slope area private high school. But early into the book, Amelia is found dead at her school, an apparent “impulsive suicide.”

This would all make perfect sense if Amelia had shown any signs of suicidal behavior, but she didn’t. That fact, along with the anonymous texts Kate receives after Amelia’s death lead her to believe that Amelia didn’t kill herself but rather was murdered. Using all of her extensive resources (Kate is a high-powered attorney), Kate attempts to unravel the mystery behind the daughter she thought she knew so well.

Reconstructing Amelia is composed of prose, emails, texts and blogs. There’s the usual cast of mean girls, tough cops, and Stepford wives. As a mom, it was a challenging read. Amelia is Kate’s only child, and as a single working woman, it seems like Kate is no longer a mother without her beloved daughter.

It’s definitely in the realm of murder mystery. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who was behind the anonymous emails, who was “in charge” of the secret group to which Amelia secretly belonged, why certain characters behaved the way they did — even who was really Amelia’s birth dad.

Although it’s not my usual genre, I recommend it. However, if you’re looking for a better psychological mystery, I recommend Before I Go to Sleep and Defending Jacob.

Birth: YOU can do it!

I screamed my head off during The Informant’s birth. From the minute labor got painful I shrieked, I cried, I yelled.

20130809-055302.jpgI can’t believe she’s 8.5yo!

Nobody did anything. I mean, the midwives and doula did stuff, but nobody had the baby for me, which was my subconscious goal. I, who enjoy being waited on hand on foot, did not like that labor and birth. I felt all alone despite the four people with me.

I’ve been thinking about birth a lot as one of my best friends is due soon. Also, as I’m starting my path to becoming a nurse. I don’t plan to be a labor/delivery nurse but if that’s a job available and I need a job, I’ll happily do it.

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I was silent — and miserable — during My Masterpiece’s birth. I knew I could do it. I knew I had to do it. I knew nobody else could do it for me. But, man, I wished someone else could do it for me. I was very proud of myself — and shocked — when I had her in a bathtub in our Arizona home.

20130809-060128.jpgShe’s actually nursing while I type this.

With Cousin It I knew what I had to do and when I was in labor I didn’t bother calling anyone til the very end. Or even waking up My Chemical Romance. (I will forever regret not calling Lora Denton of Lora Denton Photography though. Huge mistake.) Once again, I knew only I could do it but this time I tried… not to hate it so much, if not enjoy it. I was attended by my best friend, another best friend, my family. I asked for what I wanted. The birth went as well as I could imagine! (Except not having Lora there.)

My experiences are hospital birth, birth center birth and home birth but they’re all the same: I had to do it myself. It was scary and painful — and empowering each time.

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An aside, I have a friend who lived in Australia during one of her births and she said the labor/delivery nurses there do not let you lay down during labor. Here in the States women are encouraged to stay in bed. It makes them easier to monitor, I guess.

Screen free week #screenfreeweek

Recently Miss Manners visited. She is a very well-read parent (on parenting books) and she brought her kid plus her kid’s friend (all my kids except Cousin It were away). The kids were awesome. They didn’t ask for screen time. They entertained themselves. They didn’t complain of boredom.

I was amazed.

I asked what she had drugged them with. Nothing.

I told her that my kids have gotten into the habit of expecting screen time almost constantly. Now, there are 24 hours in a day, and I think that allows for a little screen time but it had become habit. And once the screen was on, it was difficult (for me) to turn off.

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Read magazines, you say?

Miss Manners suggested a two week break on screen time. I said, “what if they complain or say they’re bored?”

She said, “If they say that, I would give then something to do. Like sweep the kitchen…”

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Not bored.

So I started on Tuesday. I laid out the expectations: they can’t have screen time for a week. If they say they’re bored or complain, I have a 3500sf house that is difficult to keep “clean.” Otherwise, they do not have to go above and beyond re: chores/cleaning.

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I did pull out as many games as I could find and told them where they could find said games and cards. But I’m trying not to run around like a cruise director. And I get screen time (duh), although I’m staying off the tv when they’re awake.

They seem to be having a good time, and they’re playing well together. I asked Mineral’s psychiatrist what she thinks is appropriate for daily screen time and she said 1-2 hours/day. Maybe I’ll implement that when the week ends.

Please #spayandneuter your dogs

So here’s what happened. I love dogs and I adopted Bandit from a rescue after meeting him at Petsmart.

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It was impulsive, to say the least.

Bandit had been at the shelter for six years (!!) and was quiet and submissive, which is what drew me to him.

Except when he wasn’t quiet and submissive. In certain situations — like when he was in the car and didn’t want to get out, or when he didn’t want to get off the couch or go into his crate — he would growl and try to bite.

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I couldn’t reconcile it with the usual sweet and submissive disposition I saw most of the time. But it was there. He could be aggressive and I couldn’t keep him.

I surrendered him on Tuesday. I felt terrible mostly because I shouldn’t have adopted him in the first place.

So here’s what happened: Bandit was born because some dogs weren’t spayed or neutered. (He’s not an AKC dog and had no history.) Eventually he got picked up by a no-kill shelter which most people think are fantastic — except when a dog has aggression issues and keeping it alive = wasting resources that could be used on adoptable dogs. The shelter was so eager to adopt him out, they didn’t care about his history or do any background on me. (Yes, the shelter sucked.)

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And yes, I was the impulsive sucker who adopted a dog with no history.

As much as I hated having a puppy — they chew, they pee in the house, they are susceptible to viruses — Maizey and other AKC champion-bred dogs have a history. I have her entire line going back 5 generations and her breeder would have taken her back in a heartbeat if I had had any problems with her. (And tried to, but that’s another story.)

But dogs like Bandit, who have no history, are a crapshoot. They might be awesome and well behaved, and you might do well to get them as puppies when they are blank slates (to an extent) but you might not.

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Irresponsible breeding — breeding because you want your kid to see the miracle of life, or you want your dog to have one litter before getting him neutered or her spayed — is the root of the issue, for dogs.

For humans, it’s being a sucker. My friends have suggested I not adopt any more dogs. I can’t make that promise forever — I love dogs, always have and always will. But I can promise the next dog we own will either be from a foster with a history or from a AKC breeder. No more spontaneous impulsive dogs adoptions.

Instead, I’ll donate to a spay and neuter organization if I feel like spending my money well.

Here are two four-star rated charities (from charitynavigator.org) that support spay/neuter efforts:

http://www.petsmartcharities.org/

http://www.snapus.org

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