Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We've Moved into the Guest House

We are very lucky to be able to take advantage of the Guest House on base. We are staying there for the remainder of our time here in Kodiak. They have an awesome kids' play area for the munchkins to burn off some energy. Keith is putting the kids to sleep at the Guest House, while I am back at our house finishing up some last minute prep stuff before the packers come in the morning.

This room should keep them pretty busy. And if the weather stays warm, they can hit the park right across the street.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Our last night in our house!

Tonight is our last night sleeping in our house in Kodiak. Dinner consisted of an unusual combination of left-over items from the freezer. Daniel spent most of the day hiding behind the furniture hunting shadows on the wall. His aim is pretty good.
Megan and Joshua played with some old Star Wars figures that Keith had from many years ago. This kept them quiet and out of their bedrooms so that I could organize and clean in there.
The kids are getting really excited about the trip. Joshua is very excited that we will be landing in Orlando on Grandma's birthday.

What happened to Spring?

We've all been busy with getting the house in order for the big move. We are moving into the Guest House on base Monday night in preparation for the packers to arrive Tuesday morning. This is what we woke up to yesterday (was that just yesterday? I think I'm still on East Coast time.) I told Keith I didn't even want to look outside. Any hesitation about leaving Kodiak has now fled from my mind. I truely am not a "snow at the end of April" kindof person. I went to Wal-mart today and laughed about the gardening supplies, swingsets and kiddie pools that are up against the side of the store covered in snow. It looks like we were all excited about the warm weather.
Even though we were bummed out about the snow, it still make everything look pretty one last time.
While I was cleaning and sorting through the craft supplies, I came across our favorite bubbles. These bubbles rock - they are not the usual drippy, sticky, messy bubbles. They don't pop right away, so the kids can actually enjoy them.
In fact, hours after we had played with the bubbles, I found some lingering on the kids table and chair set. We've gone to bed many times only to wake up and still see the bubbles clinging to the couch. I've been busted at the grocery store on more than one occaision for sporting bubbles in my hair.
Even Meow-meow plays when we are dancing with the bubbles. She was chasing them, until one fell on her tail. Then she sat there patiently until Daniel came along and popped it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Back in Kodiak (for now!)

After a series of pretty uneventful flights, I finally made it back in to Kodiak yesterday evening. After spending about 24 hours traveling between 3 different airports, it was comforting for the plane to taxi into our tiny little airport. As I made the walk from the plane to the door to the airport, I could see 3 little heads bobbing up and down in excitement through the window. The kids were very excited that I had come home. They were full of stories and questions and needed boo-boos that were a week old to be kissed.

It's good to be home. Now to jump into getting things ready for our busy week next week.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


The commencement ceremony was held at the big Calvary Assembly church in Orlando. When I first walked into the church, I thought it was a bit of a big venue. As it turned out, the place was packed tonight. The ceremony didn't last nearly as long as I thought it was going to be. It was about 2 hours long. Over 400 students graduated tonight.
My very kind friends Danny, Julie and Sam. Danny is pretty funny. He's never seen me in person before so when I introduced myself to him on Friday, he looked at me funny and said, "I thought you would be blonde". It was pretty funny that we have this image of what we think each other is going to look like based on their internet personality over the past 2 years. Danny thought I was blonde because he's seen pictures of the kids from our Florida vacation last year when Megan's hair was really light colored.
My dear friend, Kathi, and I. Kathi and I have had quite a few classes together and we've both had a rough year this past year with personal things in our life. We've gotten very close and I'm going to be sad that we won't be in class together anymore, but we have each other's email. I will say that she was the one person out of everyone that I was looking forward to meeting.
We pulled the group together for a big picture of all of us. Right after this picture was taken, our close little group huddled into a prayer to remember Joyce, one of our students that was supposed to graduate with us, but died unexpectedly last year. It was a very tender moment.

The ceremony was great. When Dr. Greenlaw (the president of the college) handed me my diploma cover, he told me he was impressed with me and that he hopes to see me back again at the college in a few years when they start their BSN-to-DNP program.

This is my friend, Patricia. Patricia sent me the absolute sweetest and most encouraging email to me a few weeks ago when I was considering not making the trip to graduation because of being overwhelmed with the move. I was so glad I made the trip. Everyone seemed to genuinely happy to see each other. When we were all huddled in a group, everyone told me how happy they were that I had made the trip. I somehow earned the reputation of being the class cheerleader. They told me that if our class had to elect a president, they would have chosen me.

So to clarify the graduation attire - the super-man looking cape thing is blue and silver on the back (the school colors), with an apricot colored lining - apricot signifies that my major is Nursing. The blue and grey cords signify that I graduated Summa Cum Laude and with Nursing Honors.

Luncheon at the college

This morning there was a very nice luncheon for the distance learning students at the college. The president of the college came around and chatted with each of us for a little bit. He announced that I had traveled from Alaska and made me stand up to give a little wave.

I got a chance to put more names and faces together meeting more of the students that had just made it into town for comencement this evening. I took a tour of the campus and it brought back a lot of great memories from my previous time at the college. I graduated from the same school 10 years ago with my Associate Degree, but at that time, I lived on-campus in the dorm - which no longer exists. It was really neat to see the changes that have taken place over the past 10 years.

Leu Gardens

Yesterday, we went to Leu Gardens for a nice afternoon walk. The computer and I were disagreeing and I was unable to post these pictures then. Leu Gardens is a place that Keith and I have been to many times. They now have some cute sculptures mixed in with some of the flowers.
Here's a shot of Joe taking a rest.
One of my favorite places in the gardens is the rose garden. There are so many different types of roses, but my favorite are the ones in this picture.
Here's a shot of Sandi, Joe and me in a corner of the rose garden.
Across the lake from Leu Gardens is the main campus of Florida Hospital. The college is on-campus there beside the hospital. When I was working towards my Associate Degree ten years ago, Keith and I would rent the canoes from the college and paddle across the lake to get to the gardens.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Maitland Festival

After we left Leu Gardens, we drove a bit down the road past the park that Keith and I got married in. There was a festival of sorts happening, so we got out to take a walk around. This neat little building was a little 3-room museum showcasing some items from the 50's. There was an old box of Tinker Toys and an old slinky that the kids would have loved.

This is a view looking out of the gazebo towards the arts/food festival. Keith and I got married in this gazebo nearly 10 years ago. Joe, Sandi and I walked around the pathway and enjoyed checking out all the interesting things (and some pretty interesting people).

There is a train track that runs very close to the park. Quite frequently when we were walking we kept hearing the train whistle. The kids are going to go crazy when they see the train go by. It's amazing how much of this stuff I took for granted when I lived here before.

Saturday night date

This is the first Saturday night in a little over 2 years, that I haven't been stressed-out trying to make my Sunday afternoon deadline for turning in school work. To celebrate, Joe and Sandi took me to a yummy place called Carmala's. This place serves the best pizza! We got to eat out on the patio, where the weather was perfect.
There was even an accordian player that was providing entertainment for everyone. The kids would love this place! I can't wait to bring them here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pinning Ceremony

It is tradition in nursing for nurses to be pinned upon completion of their degree. It is a very special ceremony during which each graduate chooses another Registered Nurse to pin them. Tonight's ceremony was very nice. The distance BSN students (my class) shared the ceremony with the newly graduating Associate Degree students, which made the evening even more fun. The new graduates were so excited and their energy was contagious.

We were lined up to walk in to begin the ceremony when the Nursing Department Chair came over to our little group. We immediately thought we were in trouble for being too loud, as we had become quite the rowdy little posse, since we just now finally got to see what each other really looked like having only exchanged emails and chatted on-line for the past two years. So in the middle of hugs and laughing, Dr. Preston came over and sheepishly admitted to forgetting to ask a BSN student to be prepared to speak on behalf of the BSN students. My friend Farina volunteered me to represent the class. I was very nervous, but very flattered. However, I had nothing prepared.

I was sure to thank God for taking us all as through the program, and I thanked the staff for their patience with each of us especially when we encountered technical difficulties. I thanked our families for their support and apologized for the many times there may have been laundry not done or no dinner cooked because we were busy with our school work. I thanked the group of Distance BSN students for supporting each other through prayers and on-line study groups. And finally I congratulated the Associate Degree Nurses and welcomed them to our world of nursing. I didn't do too bad for not knowing about this ahead of time. And not having a pen to make any notes while I was sitting there waiting to speak.

I'm the one in pink with darker hair, beside my friend from Oregon, Julie, who also is wearing pink. The new grads had to wear all whites, and the returning students were allowed to wear street clothes.

I ran into so many people that I had not seen for years. In fact, a few of my previous instructors are still at the college, and I was honored to have one of them pin me. I was so glad to run into her, we laughed about the amount of times she made me cry during clinicals. They don't call her Rambo for nothing.

Here is a picture of Carolyn (Rambo) Ramsey and me after she pinned me.

Updates from the Sunshine State

This will be a quick post without pictures.

All four of my flights between Kodiak and Orlando were pretty uneventful. The trip seems twice as long as usual when I don't have the kids to tend to. I did enjoy the quiet time and got to finish reading my book and take a nap or two.

Amazingly, my luggage showed up in Orlando the same time I did (very unusual for me). Ordinary people go to sleep after they have been up all night traveling, but not me. I showered and then Joe and Sandi and I hit the road for some shopping. I was in need of a black dress. I will admit that I enjoy shopping for other people, but I despise shopping for myself. After five years of living in rural Alaska, I just can't embrace the styles that are out right now. Seriously, must everything be empire waisted? Everything looks like maternity clothes. And having worn more maternity or nursing clothes than regular clothes in the past few years, I shudder when I try on something that could even hint at me being pregnant again (sorry guys, that factory is closed at our house).

Sandi took me to IKEA, and it was amazing. Their little kid section is fantastic. I can't wait to go back and get some storage pieces for the kids' rooms and the playroom.

I took a tour of Joshua and Megan's school for next year. Grandpa Joe came along with me, since Keith went to this school when he was little. I was so excited to pull up to the school and see kids outside playing soccer and kickball in the sunshine. They have art and band and gym and PE. I looked at samples of the K and 1st grade work, and Joshua looks pretty well on-target. He will take a placement test to see which grade he'll go into next year. Megan won't take any placement tests, she'll just slip right into the 4 year old pre-K program. Now I just have to decide what to do with Daniel while I go back to work.

I went to Daytona Beach and visited with my mom in the retirement community yesterday. I do have pictures, but to not embarrass Mom, I'll keep them off of here, since we were both laughing, and the pictures are pretty unflattering! I helped Bill (Mom's husband) set up his Wii and he was content to play golf and bowling for quite some time.

I'm sure I've done a dozen more things, but they will probably bore the rest of you. I've driven by a zillion houses, and gotten out to look at one or two. I took Joe and Sandi with me to tour the one right beside them that will be for sale in a month or two.

Keith and the kids are doing fantastic. They are having fun, even though the weather has been a mixture of warm and sunny then cold and windy. I get to talk to them every night. Joshua is so darling, he's such a sensitive little boy, he gets teary when he has to say goodbye on the phone. Megan asked me what I was doing last night and I told her I was helping Grandma get her new room ready for her. Then Megan told me to "hurry up, you are taking too long".

I have a busy weekend ahead of me, I'm going to go sit out back with my book for a couple of hours until I have to go to graduation practice.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A girlie birthday party

One of Megan's little friends had a birthday party today. Since I'm leaving for Florida first thing in the morning, I really wasn't sure if I had the time to be hanging around at a birthday party, but I knew Megan would be devistated if she missed seeing her friend Ava. The kids made adorable princess hats and then they all went to play in Ava's room. Ava has quite the collection of dress-up clothes, and Megan turned into Tinkerbell for the rest of the party.
It really was a good time and I was glad I went. I always enjoy spending time with my friend, Tanya.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Is it bedtime, yet?

I didn't make it to bed until well after midnight last night. We were sorting through things for the move. Then at 5:30am I hear hysterical crying - the kind where you know something is really wrong, but all the kids sound alike in the middle of the night. It was Megan that was freaking out. She had a really bad bloody nose early this morning. She soaked her t-shirt and ruined her jammy pants. With the help of our teddy bear cool pack, the bleeding stopped. I got Megan cleaned up and moved her to the couch, where she watched cartoons on PBS while I cleaned up her room. Funny thing is that we had our home appraisal scheduled for 9:30am and it looked like I was running a slaughter-house in one of our bedrooms. Very fortunately for me, the mess was contained to mostly her bed and her pajamas.

After the home appraisal was complete, the kids and I went to the Fly-by coffee shop to have coffee with some of the Coastie Chicks one last time. It sounds like a trendy high school clique (and it sometimes seems that way!), but Coastie Chicks is an on-line forum that acts as a resource for families affiliated with the Coast Guard, and it's been a life saver for helpful information with planning this move. Coastie Chicks has quite a few Kodiak members and it's great to put the faces with the names of these really helpful and very fun folks.
I had a coffee card that someone had given me as a gift a long while back, so I splurged and got each of the kids a little hot chocolate, and myself a strawberry/banana smoothie.

For some strange reason, the kids are crazy about fishing gear. Joshua can spend hours down at the dock watching the fishermen working on their boats. I like taking him down there because it reminds me of taking trips to Gloucester with my older sister and my dad. I remember my dad would let my sister and I get pink ice cream that had chunks of bubble gum in it. It was always a great time, and we always came home with lobsters. Ironically, I was scared to death of the live lobsters, yet I would cry and want to save them as soon as I heard that we were cooking them for dinner.

The kids and I came home to take naps, and Keith had already left for work. He had a dental appointment today, so he basically spent the entire day running around the base and then working tonight. I put the kiddos down for naps and spent about an hour working on my resume. Then the contact person for the moving company came to the house to take a look at how many boxes and crates he think's we'll need. I can't believe I'll only have 6 days to prep for the movers once I get back from my trip.

Since I didn't actually spend any money on coffee - I did treat myself to this beautiful necklace
that my friend Debbie brought back from her mission trip to Uganda. The money goes back to the orphanage that Debbie was volunteering in.
Before dinner tonight, the kids were starting to look like they were going to fall asleep. No, no, no...no naps now, they'll never sleep tonight. So off to the park we went. It was a little chilly at 32 degrees, but we managed to have fun for about 30 minutes.
Daniel not looking too happy because he wants someone to push him around.
Megan, she's such a dare-devil.
Daniel on the small kids playground.

Daniel riding a duck.

Joshua steering the pirate ship.
Overall it was a very fun day today, but it was also a long day. I'm actually planning on going to bed soon after the kids because I am beat! I'm hoping I'm tired enough to sleep because I'm getting nervous about leaving for my trip to Florida in 2 days! My heart sank this morning when I read on-line about Alaska Airlines grounding some planes this morning to do safety checks. Fortunately all the grounded planes but 2 are back up and running.

All about sea otters

I guess word has gotten out about the Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center's classes for kids. Today there was quite the crowd! Joshua was sleepy and weepy and sat with his head on my shoulder. Daniel forgot his Buddy Bear in the mini-van. But Megan enjoyed herself.

After the lesson and story, the kids gathered at the tables for some crafts, but there was just too much going on. Imagine about 30 kids with all of their mothers trying to give them direction speaking over each other. It was really overwhelming and the meltdowns began. The only one of my crew doing the craft was Joshua, so I helped him pack it up and we decided we'd finish it at home sometime this week.