Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stitch Fix

I have never been a girly girl. Lace and frills have never appealed to me. And if being a girly girl means you have to enjoy shopping, especially clothes shopping, well then that just reinforces that I am not a girly girl. I HATE shopping, particularly clothes shopping (although I will make an exception for workout wear). I'm sure I am not the only woman who hates shopping for clothes. And I'm equally sure there are a variety of reasons for the loathing of clothing, but here are a couple of my reasons.

First, I'm five foot nothin' and shop in the petites department. Have you ever wandered through the petites department of any store? Actually, you are lucky if you can find a petites department. But let's just say you stumble across one. You know what you'll find in that department? Old lady clothes! I think the buyers must only believe that no one is little until they are old or no one shops in the petites department until they are old enough to qualify for a senior discount at other establishments. Lest you think that this is a regional thing, last summer when I was in New York I checked out the petites department in Macy's. Certainly they would have something trendy, hip and fashionable. Nope. Old lady clothes, polyester at its finest no less. Blech! OK, there are a few trendy things and they always seem to carry Ralph Lauren, but hello, can you say expensive! Expense is also what keeps me out of Nordstrom.

But what about Nordstrom Rack or other clothing retail establishments that might be less expensive? Well, I'm glad you asked because that brings me to my second point. They don't carry petites. So what, buy what you like and have it altered. Yeah right, cheapskate me pay even more money to have something altered? No way. Not going to happen. Well do the alterations yourself. Oh boy. That won't work either as I avoid hemming and sewing. Mostly because I suck at those things, but also because I'm lazy. Getting out a needle and thread, trying to find someone to pin the cuff for me, watching YouTube videos to make sure I'm doing it right, is all just too much bother for me.

And my third and final reason I hate shopping...because I hate trying on clothes in the store because I know they are all going to look horrible. I swear when I look in a dressing room mirror it is like looking in a fun house mirror. So I often buy things, take them home, try them on and then return them. I'm also not super confident in putting together outfits. So again, buy what I think I might like, take them home, try them on, and then return them. That's my process. I can't say that it works out very well for me.

So I'm trying something new. I'm giving Stitch Fix a try. It is an online shopping service that sends you 5 clothing items as often as every month or as infrequently as every 3 months. Basically you pick how often you want a shipment. They have a pretty in-depth survey to fill out so the stylists can get an idea of what your likes/dislikes are. Then when your 5 items arrive, you try them on, keep what you like and send back the rest. When you send the items back, there is an on-line survey to complete so you can offer feedback about the returned items. I figured since I never try on clothes before I purchase them AND I get someone do pick outfits for me, what do I have to lose? Is it pricey you ask? I would say it is about on par with prices you would find at Macy's. The only bummer is that there are ever any sale prices (and confession time, I generally shop the clearance racks. Hmm, maybe that's why I only seem to find old lady clothes). So anyway, I'm giving it a trial run. I received my first shipment on Saturday. It had a pair of black and white pants which I returned because the print was way too loud for me. A black silk blouse that was too low cut at the neckline, too deep armholes, and was see through; that went back as well. I kept a green striped dress even though I thought it was a little too form-fitting; Dave said it looked awesome which was the deciding factor in keeping it. I also kept a turquoise dolman sleeved t-shirt, again not necessarily my taste, but I'm trying to branch out. The last item was a fabulous silver bauble necklace which I absolutely loved. My next shipment is due the end of July. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day had a different feeling to it. I'm sure it had to everything to do with the fact that both of the kids are out of the house and it was just me and Dave on Mother's Day morning. I was a little more bothered by that then I expected to be. That's probably why I was a bit short with Dave when I was making breakfast on Mother's Day morning. I wasn't grumpy about having to make breakfast, but when  he pulled the cereal out of the cupboard before my breakfast was even in the oven, I may have expressed some displeasure about that. I didn't expect him to eat the baked oatmeal  I had made, but it would have been nice if he would at least have waited to eat with me. After I stated as much, he put the cereal back in the cupboard, waited the 45 minutes for the oatmeal to bake, and then enjoyed endured eating Chunky Monkey Baked Oatmeal with me. He really is the best.

As I was getting ready for church, I heard someone rummaging around in the house. I thought it was Dave until I heard the lawnmower start outside and I knew that was Dave. So as soon as I could, I peeked my head out my bedroom door and discovered that Carson had come home to go to church with me. I wasn't  expecting him until dinnertime so seeing him early was so nice.

Church was OK. Fortunately no talks placing mothers on some incredibly high pedestal. I really detest those talks.

We had my folks over for dinner.  It was nice to have them over. Even the dysfunctional BBQ couldn't damper the nice visit. It was a bummer to not be able to BBQ the steaks, but pan-frying and a moment under the broiler worked out just fine. "Papa's perfect potato salad" and a broccoli salad were perfect side dishes. I had made a chocolate cheesecake, which turned out decadent and fabulous.

We finished the night with a Skype call from Katelyn. It was full of technical glitches and I couldn't ever get the computer to take a screenshot, but those weren't really any big deal. It was so great to see her face and hear her voice. I think I missed her a bit more this Mother's Day than last; however, her time in Arizona is almost complete and she'll be home before we know it. She has had a good mission and has matured quite a bit. Things are looking good.

Overall, Mother's Day 2015 was a good one. It was different and a precursor to future Mother's Days where I won't always get to be with my children. I think it was a nice toe dip into that future reality. I love my kids. I grateful for the efforts (within their ability) they made to make my Mother's Day a good one.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Quip from Carson

Carson was instructed that he would need to find a job for this summer. Last summer's "job" of boat-building, while a great memory-builder as he learned to build the boats alongside his Grandpa Graham and enjoyed eating yummy lunches made by his Grandma Graham, just didn't do much to pay the bills. Those beautiful boats (a kayak and canoe) are still in our possession.
So this year, the job needed to be one that would result in cold-hard cash every two weeks. His first offer of employment was at a warehouse pulling frozen food orders.  He came home from the interview in a decidedly bad mood. I was a bit surprised by this attitude since it was his only job offer and it paid great money. In Carson's mind, there was no amount of money that would make working 50 hours/week in a freezer all summer long worth it. Oh, and there was this reason as well...
-"Ma, look at me. I'm too good-lookin' to work in a freezer all summer long."

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Baked Oatmeal: My New Food Obsession

I'm not a huge fan of gloppy, sticky oatmeal. It looks yucky and without out enough brown sugar to top it off, it tastes pretty yucky, too. So I was never in a big rush to try the baked oatmeal that my friend always raved about. I think I probably scrunched up my nose in disdain as she described how her family of 6 boys gobbled it up every time she cooked it for breakfast.

But when her dad passed away recently, and I was thinking of ways that I could help out, I settled on making them their favorite breakfast for the day of the funeral. And since I had extra of all the ingredients needed, I decided to make one for me too (I was pretty sure the boys wouldn't be brave enough to try it. And I was right with the first batch).

Oh my goodness! My friend was right. Baked oatmeal is delicious. I have no idea of what I was afraid of and why I waited so long to give it a try. My first batch was a banana chocolate chip recipe found on Since that first batch I have made an apple walnut baked oatmeal, a peanut butter banana chocolate chip baked oatmeal, and in the oven this morning, is a strawberry banana chocolate chip baked oatmeal. The house smells so yummy while the oatmeal is baking!

So if you have an aversion to gloppy, sticky, stove-top oatmeal, I suggest you give baked oatmeal a try. Because it is baked and contains eggs, it takes on more a bread-like texture. The lady at budgetbytes describes it as custard-like, but I think it is more bread pudding-like if anything. Anyway, it takes only a few minutes to prepare and about 45 minutes to cook. My friend says that you can prepare it the night before and cook it in the oven the next morning. I haven't tried this way yet, but I can see it as a great option for Christmas morning.

I'm sure a quick Google or Pinterest search will yield a plethora of baked oatmeal recipes. I used budgetbytes because that was the recipe that my friend really liked. The fun thing about budgebytes is that it breaks out cost/serving, so if you are budget conscious and a numbers person, you might enjoy using this website.

Happy cooking.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

School Nursing Can Be...

A. Mundane and routine
B. Challenging and limit testing
C. Frustrating and aggravating
D. Humorous
E. All of the above

A. Mundane and routine: Yep, school nursing can be both of these things. Day in and day out there are a lot of band-aids and ice packs that get distributed for the typical scrapes, bumps and owies that children suffer. There is also a lot of temperature checking and re-assuring and shooing back to class, day in and day out.

B. Challenging and limit testing: But on occasion there are situations that come up that challenge my assessment skills and decision making. In the past few weeks I have had to call 9-1-1.

First was an elementary boy who has a cardiac history of SVT (supraventricular tachycardia). When I was called to assess him his heart rate was 115. He was complaining of crushing chest pain. He had already been quietly resting for 15 minutes with no relief. I have at my disposal a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff and a pulse oximeter. That's it. Those are all of the fancy tools I get to care for kiddos in school. So a thorough assessment becomes very important. In this case, the boy's color was good but he was uncomfortable. He kept saying how much his chest hurt. And then he develops this weird cough, which he describes as feeling a tickle in his throat. Not knowing this kiddo (did I  mention he is a student at a school I am not assigned to? I just happened to be the nurse on-call for that school) and with his parents unreachable (unreachable parents are a HUGE frustration factor when facing these kinds of situations), the decision to call 9-1-1 was made. The paramedics came, hooked him up to all of their fancy machines, saw that his heart rate with a sinus dysrhythmia, still couldn't reach a parent or emergency contact, and loaded him into an ambulance to take him to the hospital for further evaluation.

The second 9-1-1 call was for a middle school student who reported to the health room with a blood pressure of 194/138. That's not good. I had her rest and rechecked her blood pressure after 15 minutes. While waiting for the 15 minutes to pass, I tried to reach the parent. The student tried multiple times to reach the parent. The assistant principal tried several times to reach the parent. NO PARENT AVAILABLE. UGH! 15 minutes later and the student's blood pressure is now 140/100. Now she is complaining of impaired vision, dizziness and tingly. OK. 9-1-1 to come do a further assessment because remember all I have is a blood pressure cuff, a stethoscope, and a pulse oximeter. Again the paramedics come, hook the student up to all of their fancy tools, discover she has significant orthostatic changes in BP, and load her onto a gurney to take her to the hospital.

C. Frustrating and aggravating: Besides not being able to get a hold of parents when their children are sick, there are other frustrating aspects of being a school nurse. As a school nurse I am responsible for monitoring immunization compliance. I spend several hours a month reviewing records, sending out notices, making phone calls, and doing all I can to make sure that students meet the state standards for immunizations. But making phone calls and sending out notices is about all I can. It is up to administrators to enforce the law. And quite frankly, immunization compliance falls way down the list of priorities for administrators.

The sh*! only hits the fan when there is a potential of disease outbreak and the administrators discover that many children are at risk and will have to be excluded if there is an outbreak.  Then all of  the sudden it becomes a priority. This is what happened recently in a large neighboring school district. The head shed people finally decided to hold school administrators feet to the fire regarding immunization compliance and a huge effort was taken to get students caught up. The district went from having 5000 students out of compliance to 98! That is an amazing change. And do you know what else happened? Instead of praising the school nurse who is the coordinator of school health for her efforts to bring immunization clinics to schools to get those kids in compliance, the district is firing her. FIRING HER! She has become the fall guy for the negative press that surrounded the large out-of-compliance rate even though school nurses, as I previously mentioned, have absolutely no authority to enforce immunization laws. Oh I am SO MAD over this injustice.

D. Humorous: Fortunately there are enough humorous moments to compensate for the frustrations, aggravations, challenges, and mundane tasks. The humorous moments definitely help keep me going. Things such as pea gravel in ears (seen more cases of this than I ever thought I would), funny little kids and funny big kids are daily bright spots in my job. The other day an 8th grade girl came to see me. She said she had a rash on her chin. I looked at her chin and she did have lots of little dots on the underside of her chin, but it looked more like she had rubbed up against something rather than a rash. So I asked if she played softball and had slid on the ground. No. How about dancing and sliding on the floor? No. Well it looks like your chin rubbed against something and ruptured lots of little blood vessels. Oh, I did have a cup stuck there for a couple of minutes. Congratulations, you gave yourself a hickey. Spent the rest of the afternoon chuckling over that.

E All of the above: So as you can see, school nursing fits all of the above descriptors. And as difficult as B and C can be, those are things that make sure there is never a dull moment. But thank heaven they don't happen on a daily basis.

Monday, April 27, 2015

News from Kate

Sometimes we get unexpected pictures of Katelyn texted to us.
That happened last week when the Peterson's sent us a couple of pictures.
Sister Peterson with Katelyn and Sister Schoeder. And Sister Peterson's two adorable boys

After we received the pictures, I then received a text from Sister Peterson.
She had asked Katelyn to describe me.
This is how Katelyn sees me
Sister Peterson's message in yellow; my response in blue

Well, there you have it.
I'm a dragon, which apparently means I'm feisty.
I'm an elf, which apparently means I'm undersized.
I can't really argue with either description.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Have Courage and Be Kind

In the recent Disney remake of Cinderella, Cinderella's dying mother whispered that line "have courage and be kind" to Cinderella. I have to admit that once I heard that line I was a bit distracted through the rest of the movie as I pondered on those words.

I wondered how I was doing to reflect that line. I have often defined myself as courageous, but we saw the movie on the heels of the news breaking that over 100 Christian college students had been killed at their university in Kenya. I wondered if I had that kind of Christian courage. Sure it's easy to say that from the safety of my home in the United States of America but would I say the same if in the actual situation? Today I say "Yes".

But that isn't the only way to show Christian courage. And that led me to the next part of the phrase, "and be kind".

If you asked people who knew me in high school to describe me, I doubt that "kind" would be in the top 10 descriptor words. I would like to think that my friends I have now would use "kind" to describe me, but I honestly don't know. The problem is that I tend to still define myself by the old high-school terms.

I'm not sure why I continue to old on to this old characterization, even if it isn't accurate anymore. I guess it is kind of like continuing to run in running shoes well past their mileage. You do it because you know what to expect from them, even if it means achy knees and hips. Changing shoes might not work out, they might not feel right or fit right or they might feel just different enough you know it's going to take some time to get used to it and you are sure that you really want to take that time. The point is, the old shoes are familiar and known and the pain they cause is worth it because then you avoid all the unpleasantness of change.

And so I hold onto a familiar, known characterization even though it doesn't really work for me anymore. It gives me an excuse to fall back on if this "kind" thing doesn't work out. It provides a bit of protection and a retreat to fall back to when my awkward efforts at being kind appear to be rebuffed.

But where is the courage in retreat? And more importantly where is the Christian courage? For what I realized is that by not accepting a this new character trait, I in fact am rejecting Christ's sacrifice for me. I am rejecting the grace He is extending to me to make weak things strong.

Whew, can you see why I was so distracted during the movie? That's a lot of self-reflection. My mind and heart were still ripe for learning.

This phrase from General Conference:
God cares a lot more about who we are,
And about who we are becoming,
Than about who once were. - Dale Relund
and then this phrase that I heard at my friend's church on Easter Sunday:
Your story + God's story = A New Story
spoke right to my heart. And reinforced all that I had thought about during Cinderella.
Good-bye old familiar unkind self. You no longer serve any person. I am now moving forward with courage AND with kindness.