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Kimler Adventure Pages: Journal Entries
The Vancouver Sun newspaper ran a special article on Saturday, March 19th entitled "B.C. Heading for a Nursing Crisis". The upside, of course, is that Rachel will be graduating with a 4-year Nursing degree in little over a year. Job prospects in B.C. (and elsewhere) look good.
The article isn't available online, so I can't put up a link (I guess the Vancouver Sun wants you to actually PAY to read their paper ... go figure!). Some of the salient points are highlighted, below.
Rachel is well past her first mid-terms and is wrapping up a term-paper that's due next week. It's been a tough go for everyone, trying to adjust and give Rachel the time she needs to study, read, prepare & write. Her first mid-term, in Medical Micro-Biology went swimmingly and we began to think that this 'University' stuff wouldn't be too difficult. Unfortunately, her 2nd mid-term, in her double-unit Nursing course, didn't go as well as she had thought. Without too much time for remorse or speculation, she had to get motivated to complete a term-paper in that same course ... and then, not too far from now - finals. Unlike regular employment, a student's "job", never really ends (as one can always 'study more'). Rachel has the difficult task of riding that fine line between balancing school & family life, something that most of her younger classmates are not struggling with.
School and child-care, along with a dark, cold winter (and geez, it's only the middle of November), have put a great deal of stress on the household. We can't lie. It's been tough and this is the "light term" (only two courses). Next term will involve a clinical placement (Two 8-hour shifts per week) and THREE courses! Neither of us feels we get enough time to do "our things" and though we love Alex to death, her needs are constant (when she is awake). Fortunately, she naps from about 10 AM to 11:30 AM daily and again from 3 PM to 5 PM (most days). Sometimes it's earlier, sometimes later ... and rarely, she'll skip an afternoon or morning nap entirely. Still, those become the times that we have for chores (like showering, answering emails, doing laundry) and aren't necessarily long enough to accomplish other tasks.
Scott cares for Alex when Rachel is at school (Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning, all-day Wednesday & Thursday afternoon) - there is no other option. He takes her at other times too, so that Rachel has time to study, but he too, needs time - time on the computer, time in the shop, etc. Because Alex goes to bed at 8 PM, there is some relief, but often we're too tired to want to start work or study in the evening. The dark doesn't help, with the feeble sun setting around 4:30 or 5:00 PM. The time that suffers most, however, is "our time", where we take time for ourselves and our relationship and do things together, without Alex. That's become almost non-existent & is taking it's toll.
Fortunately, we do communicate about these things, but it's generally not until after some big argument or misunderstanding. We're doing our best to find something that works for everyone, but it hasn't been easy and we're not close to figuring it all out. It takes a toll on our psyche & we've both been blue lately, as a result.
A caveat - as much of a drain on our personal resources as Alex has been, she's also been a source of humor, love & comfort. She truly is a blessing, but we can completely understand the stress that comes from introducing a little one into the family.
No, she's not a nurse yet, but she's well into her first semester at the University of Alberta. She's taking "Medical Mike" (aka Medical Micro-Biology, which Scott refers to as, "Medical Bob"). It's her most interesting course. The other course is (in the parlance of University-speak) "Nursing 306", which is a 6-credit course "Nursing & Health Assessment". It's kind of like an Intro to Nursing course, which has a lab associated with it. She brought home an infant blood pressure cuff and has been practicing on Alex. Scott is a little worried that they're going to learn about giving injections & drawing blood.
It has been difficult to adjust and carve out a new schedule. We've been sharing cooking duties a lot more and have instituted a weekly menu plan (needed when you have two cooks in the kitchen). We shop once a week - mostly it's still Rachel that shops, as Scott detests shopping. But he did go last week (what a zoo! You really got to pick your times to go to avoid a crowd.) Rachel went back to work when Alex was just two months old, so he's used to being Mr. Mom, but now, as a student, when Rachel returns home, she has homework to do & he's used to relinquishing childcare duties when she pops in the door. Finding the time to study is something that Rachel is finding difficult. The Oop goes to bed at 8 PM, so that's a logical time, but often we're tired and ready to veg out then. Gradually, we're coming up with a new dance, one that has Alex taken care of & allows both parents their needed time. Now all we have to do is carve out some "us" time! (Our 3-year wedding anniversary is tomorrow, by the way).
Happy Anniversary Honey!
Two years after we hiked 2,560-miles from Mexico to Canada along the PCT, Scott finalized the online slide show. We have added LOTS of new photos and they've all been modified to show at a higher resolution. Click HERE to see pictures and information about our 5-month long wilderness adventure. It was the experience of a lifetime!
(Scott has been motivated by Tom & Sheila, who've almost finished hiking the length of California. They're headed to Seiad Valley this week). We've been reading their online journal, which brings back memories of our 5-month-long hike. Just the motivation to get that slide show finished!
Family News (Short Version)
New Abode: It's our first move of 2004, but our fifth since Jan 1st, 2003! We've moved out of our little coach-house, boxed our belongings, left out only what is necessary, stored the rest, and are (once again) house-sitting the Pilley residence while they are away to England. It won't be for 5 months, this go-round, but only for a month or two. We've said it before and we'll say it again, "Moving sucks!" (but house-sitting is easy on the old wallet)! We think that Scott fractured his right thumb during the move (what a klutz)! We're now ensconced in the main house and busy updating our site from the 3rd floor office.
Trip to CA: Before we began boxing, hauling, stacking and carting ... we took a 1,200-mile trip down to northern California to visit Scott's folks at their ranch. It was a long trip, especially for tiny Alex. We left at 3:30 in the morning (so Oop could sleep). We crossed the border with nary a problem and drove and drove and drove and drove. (Okay, we stopped for breakfast at a Denny's and lunch at a Burger King ... Alex needed to get out of her car seat and Mom needed a fried potato fix). She was quite the little trooper (not one tear shed). We had a wonderful time at the R2 ranch. Grandma and Grandpa Kimler fell in love with their little granddaughter. What's NOT to love? She's such a happy baby, such an EASY baby! Below are some snaps from that visit.
Alex rode a swing for the first time, at the Pilley house, only day's before we left for California. She enjoyed swinging SO much, that at the last minute, we tossed the Pilley toddler swing in the back of the van. We're glad we brought it along, as she just had a ball, swinging under the patio at the R2 ranch. (We're a tad concerned that if she likes swinging at this young age, that Alex might grow up to be an 'adrenalin junkie').
While at the R2 ranch, Alex was introduced to a variety of farm animals. While she can growl like a bear, she hasn't learned the fine art of mooing like a cow. She got plenty of instruction from the big beef cows on the ranch, who - despite their size - were far more afraid of Alex, than she was of them.
Tricky Tranny: As easy as the drive down to California was, the drive back was even easier ... that is, until we got to Seattle. We stopped to spend the night with our Big Ride friend Dave (and his super girlfriend, Karen). The next morning, when we got into our van to come home ... NO POWER in ANY GEAR! Tranny GONE! We had to have the vehicle towed (thanks Dave, for having the premium AAA membership) to a garage across town. We hopped on a bus to Vancouver and managed to get home around 7pm. It was a looooonnngg day and (AGAIN) the Oop was terrific. (Even managed to make friends with several of the bus passengers with her quick smile and perky demeanor). Our van, on the other hand, is on our #%@#-list. Cost of repair? $2,675.00 So much for our "bargain" used car!! (A reminder to ourselves: NEVER, NEVER-EVER buy a used car off a lot.)
Moving Again: Oop's Canadian tour is now on hold. Van isn't powerful enough to tow the old fold-up camper. Neither Mom nor Dad can imagine car-camping for that length of time. Plans are up in the air. Rachel has not yet heard from the University of Calgary, but expects an acceptance letter any day now. We're leaning toward the University of Alberta (Edmonton) anyway. Perhaps we'll take a drive out to look for a new place, so that we can get settled before the term starts in early September.
Oop @ 7 Months: Hard to believe that our little girl is now 7 months young. Dad baked her a 1/2 birthday cake on her 6th-month "birthday". (It was a double-layer, half-circle vanilla-chocolate cake. It was quite cute and admired by all). Oop had her first taste of 'cake' and decided it was PRETTY GOOD! In fact, Alex liked it so much that she thought every fork-full should end up in HER mouth. None for the commoners, only the princess!
She's now gotten the hang of "solid" food and her repertoire includes: (pureed) peas, apples, bananas, carrots, rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, and various tidbits gleaned from the plate when mom and dad aren't looking! Oh yes, and CAKE! The BIG news for little Alex is, however, that she's MOBILE! We can't claim "crawling" yet, but it's a squirmy, rolling, pushing and pulling bundle of energy that knows no bounds. She's had a couple of disasters (pulling things down on top of herself), which result in tearful crying fits, but they don't dampen her spirit of adventure (5 minutes later she's off and into new things). We've now got our HANDS FULL!!
Gran Pilley gave Alex a "jolly jumper" for her half-birthday. What a wonderful gift (for BOTH Alex and her parents)! "Thanks, Gran," Alex says, bouncing between the door of the bathroom and the kitchen (darn near the only place in the house the bloody thing hangs from, because of the way the doorways are constructed). She growls, bounces and coos ... keeping herself happy and entertained for long periods of time. A great baby-sitter.