Little Miss Minion: Volume 5

Yesterday was Little Miss Minion’s fifth birthday! I can’t believe it has already been five whole years since she was born.

Since we couldn’t have a regular party like we normally would have, the plan was to have a Yes Day and try to meet up with people on Zoom to sing happy birthday. Mr Minion took the day off from work and went out to get donuts for breakfast. After that, she got herself dressed in her Snow White dress and watched tv. She got bored of Snow White after a while and decided to be a pirate princess instead. About an hour later, it was time for Snow White again. Around noon, we had a special visitor—Nurse J from the NICU!

Little Miss Minion had requested a steak dinner, so we happily obliged and Mr Minion grilled some of the best steaks I’ve ever had. After dinner, we fired up the computer and Zoomed with friends and family to wish her a happy birthday and sing before she blew out her candles.

After cake and such a busy day, she was full of energy (and sugar), so we went for a walk in full Snow White regalia, plus a new Frozen baseball hat. I’m sure the neighborhood wasn’t expecting a Royal parade. 🙂

Today was a rude awakening, as Princess Minion realized that it was no longer her birthday and she had to do her normal daily things, like pick up after herself and not have cake for lunch. She’s so deprived.

Excitement!

Its been almost a month since my last entry and there are lots of new things to share. My seeds have all sprouted and I planted the tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and sweet peppers outside. We added a little border to our patio and planted some flowers in it. The broccoli and green bean bushes are almost ready to be transplanted outside, with the cucumbers soon to follow. We are supposed to get a lot of rain this week, so I don’t want to drown them. I would like them to be a little bigger before I stick them out in the elements. I’ve got zucchini that will be ready to go outside too, plus romaine lettuce.

 

Another new addition to our backyard is a playhouse for Little Miss Minion. A neighbor on the other side of our backyard offered it to us, so over the weekend, Mr Minion and his dad moved it through two gates and over a fence (with some help from awesome neighbors). The playhouse made it over in one piece and Mr Minion put it back together. It had a slide, which we kept, but also had monkey bars and a swing extension that wouldn’t fit in the yard. He took pieces off of those to reinforce the existing structure and add a wall. I think the slide has been used approximately 150 times in the two days that it has been assembled.

 

Grocery delivery slots have become more common, so I’m no longer ordering twice my usual amount. I’ve been on a Julia Child kick recently. I made Supremes de volaille aux champignons last night and it is my current favorite. This recipe is for chicken breasts in a port cream sauce with mushrooms. I did the chicken in my instant pot (not very authentic, but I am lazy) and while it cooked, I made the port cream sauce and threw on some risotto and grean beans to finish it out. The rice is a necessity so that you have something to sop up the extra sauce. I could drink that sauce, it is soooo good. I usually make it with buttered peas on the side, per Julia’s suggestion in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I haven’t been able to find peas for three weeks (thanks, Covid-19).

 

We went for a drive yesterday to do a contactless wine pickup from a semi-local winery. Beautiful scenery, nice weather, and we planned it during Little Miss Minion’s naptime so she slept there and back. I need to find some good recipes to pair them with. We had a white merlot (not from the winery) with our Julia dinner yesterday and it was a PERFECT combination, so my new hobby is going to be matching the wine with our food.

 

My last bit of news is the most exciting (in my admittedly biased opinion). I was accepted into the nursing program!!!! They pushed the application deadline back by two weeks and then it took another two weeks to determine who would be accepted. I have been killing my phone battery that whole time, refreshing my emails to see if I got an acceptance letter and it finally came last Wednesday. I am so excited!!! We are supposed to get an invite to a digital course that has all the information we need to prepare for the fall semester (drug testing, insurance information, class registration, etc.) so I am burning out my phone daily looking for THAT email. And my friend from school (former lab partner from A&P I) also got in, so we are trying to sync up and have the same schedule this fall. There are only 36 spots, so classes will probably fill up quickly once the notice goes out. Everyone has the same lecture, then there are three times for lab and two times for clinicals. I am hoping to get the lab that immediately follows lecture and the early clinical slot. Just need to wait on that email…

 

Hope everyone is staying safe and staying healthy!

 

School, Crafts, Baking and More…

A few quick updates, since Little Miss Minion is bound to wake up from her nap at any moment-

  1. My school has gone completely online for the rest of the semester. I can’t remember if I said that before, but its official. We will be doing video conferencing for lecture and lab for the first time on Saturday, and I am hoping we will get more information on how our tests will go, since we have pushed back a lecture test and a lab practical from this weekend to next weekend. I’m curious to see how the lab test will go, since so much of the practical is hands on. I guess we will find out Saturday.
  2. The coffee filter crown turned out cute. I will attempt to upload a picture to this post once I publish on my laptop-the pic is on my phone.
  3. Sprouts have been transplanted into peat seedling cups (kind of like cardboard ice cube trays that you break up and plant) and await warmer temps outside.
  4. Mr Minion has hijacked the office since he is working from home for the foreseeable future. He had been going to the office each day, thereby exposing himself and us to the chance of bringing home the virus.
  5. The weather, while not warm enough to plant things, is warm enough for Little Miss Minion to go outside without complaining that its cold.

Our grocery orders have been running about five days out, since delivery has become so popular. I joked the other day that our kitchen is going to end up like an episode of Chopped (American TV show where you are given random ingredients and have to make do). Sure enough, we got our last grocery delivery and several items were left out due to low supplies. I had gotten all the components for Boeuf Bourguignon except the meat–solution: Coq Au Vin! Almost identical ingredients list, but with chicken. Luckily, we got the fruit and Little Miss Minion’s string cheese, so she is happy.

I can hear tiny feet thundering around–off to the next adventure!

Spring is here!

So today is the first day of spring…and it is cloudy and raining. But the high is supposed to be decent, so I have opened the windows a little to get some fresh air in here. Little Miss Minion and I prepped the seeds for sprouting the other day. We are hoping to do two plantings-a cool weather one and then a summer one. Since I am home now, hopefully I will be able to keep up on maintaining the plants.

First planting: dill, parsley, cucumber, thyme, lavender, and broccoli. I plan to make pickles out of the cucumber. They are currently sitting in damp paper towels, taped to the window of our office so they can sprout.

Summer planting: we are planning on doing cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, onions, zucchini, green beans and/or peas, lettuce, and some peppers (probably a combo of sweet mini peppers and some spicy ones for fajitas).

Mr Minion tilled up both of our gardening areas-we have a raised bed already, and we pulled up some grass in another area of the backyard to plant more things. This area will be shaded once the leaves come back, where the raised bed is in direct sunlight all day. I think we will move the tomatoes back to the raised bed this season. They didn’t do well in the small section of the shaded area we put them in last time.

As I mentioned above, I am going to try my hand at canning this year. I’m hoping for pickles, and I will probably attempt to do any extra green beans/peas, and maybe make some salsa if we have enough tomatoes and peppers. I’m terrified of giving us all botulism though, so I need to read up on how to not kill us all.

Other than that, not much going on over here. We pretty much stay in the house anyway, since it has been so gross out recently. Mr Minion refilled the sand in the sandbox for the kiddo, and she was very excited about that. We made chocolate cupcakes yesterday, and I am going to attempt making a spring flower hat with her today. I am not crafty at all, but I think this is doable. I will update if it turns out well, and if it doesn’t…this never happened. 😉

Wish us luck!

The Obligatory Coronavirus Post

I have been following this virus since about the third week in January and it looks like it has taken until now for the US government to take it seriously. So…7 weeks. I have a lot of opinions and feeling about this, but I want to focus on what we can all do to help. Since I spent much of Little Miss Minion’s first year of life in a constant state of bleaching everything we owned, I have some relevant experience. RSV isolation and introversion have prepared me for just this situation 😉

As the parent of a former 28 weeker, I take cold and flu season extremely seriously, even though my kiddo has hopefully outgrown her preemie lungs and the problems that go with them, as well as developed a decent immune system. Last time she got sick, she had a runny nose for about 12 hours and then gave it to me, where it lasted six weeks and turned into a double ear infection, a sinus infection, bronchitis, and borderline pneumonia mixed with infection-induced asthma.

I’m sure everyone has heard the non-stop refrain of “wash your hands,” “it’s just the flu,” and “it’s only killing old people.” Here are my two cents, as a NICU mom, as a preemie mom, and as a (hopeful) future nurse:

  1. WASH YOUR HANDS. For real. Viruses need us to take them to the cells they can infect. Take the common cold, for example. You could dunk your hands in a bucket full of rhinovirus and not get sick…UNLESS you brought the virus to your nose or mouth. Scrub your hands, and the detergents in the soap will disrupt the virus capsule and kill it. Hand sanitizer does the same thing to this virus–although not all viruses are killed by it. Norovirus, for example, is not killed by most sanitizer gels.
  2. Take it seriously. While 80% of cases are apparently not a big deal, that means that 20% result in symptoms serious enough to warrant hospitalization. We don’t have the space in our hospitals for that kind of volume. We don’t have the staffing, or the supplies…which brings me to the next point.
  3. Do your part to flatten the curve. The curve is basically the number of people who need medical attention at a given time. The lower that number is, the better shape we will all be in. Slow the spread of illness so that the numbers of severe cases don’t surge. 100 people knocking on your door over the course of a year is far better than all of those people showing up in one day.
  4. Don’t be a carrier. Limit your visiting with more vulnerable people (looking at you, nursing homes, retirement homes, people fighting chronic illness, people with newborns). You could be sick with this virus (or any other virus) and not know it, bringing it in and infecting others who may not be able to fight it off. I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell, explain, and argue with people about why it was so vital that Little Miss Minion not get sick that first year she was home with us. What you think are “allergies” on Monday, so you go visit an older relative, could turn into “just a runny nose” on Tuesday and a full blown cold on Wednesday–and could prove to be pneumonia or worse for your unsuspecting relative.
  5. Don’t let the anxiety rule you. Check in on the news once or twice a day and get on with your day…albeit with a little more soap and a little less face-touching than usual.

 

Wishing everyone health and lots of toilet paper…

 

One Month of SAHM-ing

It’s been a whole month since my last day of work and my first day of being a stay at home mom (SAHM). I think Little Miss Minion has transitioned very well to staying home with me instead of going to daycare. I think I’ve transitioned pretty well too.

Here’s our general schedule:

After Mr Minion leaves for work, we do some “school” activities. This includes some combo of writing letters, tracing her name, and/or math. She’s got a math puzzle that she enjoys, but sometimes I’ll do this throughout the day and ask her how many of X item would she have if I took/added X number of items. She loves that and has started doing the same thing to us. Last night, we were eating dinner and she was asking us how many pieces of fish she would have left if she took some away. We sometimes give her a wrong answer to test her, but she’s getting pretty good.

After “school,” we go downstairs to her playroom and she can play with her kitchen, her castle, or her easel (and the plethora of other toys down there).

By this time, it’s getting close to lunchtime, so we come back upstairs and she cleans up her stuff while I make lunch. After lunch is naptime, and I either clean or study.

After her nap, we sometimes watch a tv show or movie. Sometimes she does a puzzle or colors on her own and I can keep working on school stuff. I’ll start dinner about an hour before Mr Minion should be home.

We’ve kept her off the iPad for about a week now, and I’ve noticed a big change in her ability to entertain herself and her focus. I don’t think she’s old enough yet for any actual educational games on there. I think the iPad might “disappear” this afternoon.

I think we’re going to keep doing swim lessons for her. She absolutely loves them and it’s a good way to keep her socialized. I need to sign her up for the next round. Once it gets warmer out, we’ll start going to the park. My goal is to walk there a couple times a week. It’s about 3 miles round trip and I’ll be bringing the Cadillac stroller (it’s a really nice jogging stroller) so I don’t have worry about her on the busy road and for book storage (the park is on the way to the library). I bought a sunhat for this exact reason, since I’m so pale. It’s similar to a handmaidens tale hat, only blue and there’s a flap of fabric that covers your neck in the back. It reminds me of retro Hollywood.

In other news, I had my first practical exam for Anatomy & Physiology II. In case you are unfamiliar with the structure of my class, it’s one course called A&P II. The class is split into a lecture, which is heavy on PowerPoint and explanation of the physiology part (explaining how the heart works, how the lungs work, what cells make up your blood, etc), and a lab (dissect a heart to see the parts, do your own blood typing to see which antigens you have, look at this model of the lungs to see where the gas exchange occurs). It’s kind of like having two classes, since they each have their own homework and tests, but they count as one grade total. My course grade will be made of 75% from lecture and 25% from lab.

The practical test in lab is set up on a series of stations at each lab table. There will be a model or a diagram or sometimes a dissected organ with questions that we have to answer. This one was very heavy on blood vessels and where your blood would be going depending on which vessel it was in.

Our scores were posted the other day day I got a 96%! So far, so good.

Little Miss Fishy

In an effort to get Little Miss Minion (and me) some social interaction, we decided to sign her up for swimming class. She’s in the preschool group, where they mostly focus on getting the kids to feel comfortable in the water. Her group consists of her and two other kids. The other two are bigger than she is (what else is new?) and more experienced in the water. At one point, she decided to go sit on the stairs and watch, but I talked her into going back over to the group. Her teacher really helped-I think she realized LMM was nervous, not just being stubborn. About five minutes later, she was splashing and picking up diving rings (they were in the kids section, so the water ranged from zero inches deep at the beach ramp walk in to like two feet at the far end). They also did boogie boards, where the kids hold the board and kick while the teacher pulls them around. They practiced floating, which I was sure LMM was going to pass on, but she did it. They also practiced jumping into the water while holding the teacher’s hands. I didn’t think she’d do that either, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was fully expecting her to refuse to go in this time, since the pool is a new place for her and I was over in the parent area. Every time she did something, she’d look over at me and beam–the biggest smiles ever. It was adorable.

While I was getting her dried off and dressed for the ride back home, she asked me if we could come back tomorrow. I think she likes it.

Nursing School Entrance Exam

This morning, I took my nursing school entrance exam. The program I will be applying for requires at least a 75%, but it is a highly competitive program and the average score of an accepted student is a 88% with a 3.6 GPA. I was very nervous about the math portion, because I don’t like math at all. I have to stop saying that I’m bad at it, because apparently, I am actually decent at it. My last position before leaving my job was a supervisor in the Accounting department, of all places.

The next things on my list are to officially apply for the RN program and to finish my scholarship application. There is an essay component, so I’ll be heading to campus this week to have someone from the Writing Center take a look at it and see if I am missing anything. Another set of eyes doesn’t hurt. I don’t know what the official application entails, but I have finally met all the criteria. Here are my stats:

GPA: 3.8 at my school, probably somewhere like 3.6 total

Entrance Exam score: 94.5%

Anatomy and Physiology grade: A

I’m hoping these are good enough to get me into the next cohort. I also hope there is an essay portion, because I do love a good essay. 🙂

 

Wish me luck!

 

New Semester, New Journeys

Lots of news in this post!

After six years at my place of employment, yesterday was my last day at work. Mr Minion and I decided that my focus should be on my school and spending time with Little Miss Minion before she starts kindergarten in the fall.

I’m excited and a little nervous to start this new phase of life. I’m very type A, so the thought of not having a schedule or consistent daily plan is strange. However, since I am so type A, I have decided to make my own schedule. I’ll be doing some school type activities with LMM so she is ready for school in the fall. I’ll be planning lots of trips to the library and the parks around here, once the weather warms up. And I’m going to have far more time to study.

That brings me to the next bit of news. The spring semester has started! This time, I’m taking Anatomy and Physiology II, which will cover the rest of the organ systems that weren’t covered in the fall semester. My lecture and lab are both on Saturdays, and the class is comprised of me and one other girl. Yes, really. We really have no excuse to not get an A, since we have practically personalized lectures. Today, we talked about blood, blood cells, etc in lecture, and in lab, we looked at the cells under the microscope and did a test where we were able to determine our own blood types based on which antigens and antibodies were present. Next week, we’re covering the heart and doing a heart dissection.

I’ve also made a list (because that’s what I do) of things that we’ve been meaning to do around the house since we moved in. It’s essentially a deep clean of every room and a clear out of everything we don’t use. I’m trying to get everything in order before I (hopefully) start nursing school in the fall.

Another adventure begins!

Happy New Year!

On New Year’s Day last year, we started The Jar. I cut up some paper into little slips and found a pen. The Jar, the slips of paper, and the pen sat on the counter in our kitchen all year. Whenever we remembered to do it, we would write down something memorable that had happened and planned to read all the slips on New Year’s Eve. We went to bed last night at like 10, so we read them this morning. It was pretty cool to see all the things we wrote down throughout the year. Little Miss Minion even snuck one in without us knowing!

Highlights:

Getting cleared for another year from LMM’s neurosurgeon.

Going to a cool Halloween tour at a historical house near us.

I got promoted in the spring. And again in the fall.

Taking LMM to the Home Depot projects.

Planning our cruise to Alaska.

My A in Microbiology. And my A in Anatomy and Physiology I.

Date nights with Mr Minion.

Baking zucchini bread with zucchini from our garden.

Theon Greyjoy Memorial BBQ.

Putting Christmas lights on the house.

2019 was a pretty good year. I have high hopes for 2020.

Now I have to go get The Jar ready for a new year of memories.