FNP - complete!

I'm done - I've made it through nurse practitioner school.

I'm so grateful God blessed me with this opportunity & a husband who supported & encouraged me all the way. In addition to this I had a sweet & understanding study partner who was happy to sit at the table & color or scribble on paper doing her "homework" along with me. Her enthusiastic greeting of "Congratulations!" and hug as I came in the door after my last day iced the cake on getting finished up.


Fourth Fun

We are at Nana & Papa's for the long weekend & celebrated the Fourth last night at a weinie roast with some long-time friends.

Annie had a blast with her cousins Wyatt & Willow & the other littles there. They explored, rode a paddleboat around the creek, played horseshoes & frisbee & had a fun in general.

Annie also made her first attempt at fishing & even warmed up a little to fireworks. God Bless America!


Ballet: Take One

This year was a first for Annie & I. She had been asking to dance since she was 2 (no exaggeration) & since she was just nearly 3 & potty-trained in September when ballet classes started they let her in.
I personally never took ballet or any form of dance. I was in gymnastics as a kid for a few years but the teacher strongly recommended another sport for me as I quickly outgrew my classmates in height & did not progress along with my age group. This was fine & no major loss to me but all through grade school, jr. high, & high school I played basketball. It's a fun sport, teaches teamwork, & keeps one active but doesn't necessarily require a lot of grace.

This background all goes to say that I was really happy Annie was enthusiastic about ballet and hopeful that she would pick up some of that grace that I never did. Thus, she began ballet.
Before the first class
Ballet was not easy.  Neither of us realized how regimented it would be. We got the required outfit & shoes but I didn't know until the first practice that the studio doors closed & parents were left outside without even as much as a window to observe while they waited. This was pretty tough for Annie too. While she goes to school & has group time, a regular schedule, helps clean-up toys, etc... It's not quite the same environment as when you have to go in, sit in a specific spot, & begin your stretches as they are called out from a recording by a very formal British man to the background of classical music.
She was also required to learn to skip.  Do you know how difficult that is for a 2 year-olds little legs?  Skipping is a developmental milestone that I am familiar with because of all the well-child checks we do in clinicals. It is not one we expect children to be able to master until age 5. There is a reason for this: it's complicated and requires coordination! However, with the help of her teacher by December and the parents night (where we got to observe) she was progressing along with skipping quite well.
She was also doing good with all the other moves and dances they did in class.  However, this was the first time I realized how being the youngest in a class of peers can be hard.  While we observed she really got upset/embarrassed a few times as she still needed some assistance in moves that the older girls didn't.  We were both very proud of her but I was hesitant as we started the spring semester and they began to focus on the recital.  I asked her a couple of times about ballet and she would say she liked the class but I could tell it was work for her.  In February though she mastered skipping and because she was the only kid in her school that could skip this was a huge confidence booster for her. 

May came and with it another parents night to let us have a sneak peek before the recital.  What progress she had made!!!  Philip and I beamed through the whole dance.  She did so well and you could tell she was having fun.  Then came the first night of the recital. We were all backstage and ready to go and due to bad weather that recital was cancelled. 

Yes, that is the look of disappointment (and ridiculous mandatory stage make-up) and confusion as to why she had to get in to this get-up and not dance.  This meant the next day she had two performances and in each one she was outstanding.  It was so fun to see her dance and perform after she'd practiced for so long and come so far.  Needless to say, year one of ballet was a success and she has already acquired more grace than I would have ever dreamed of having. :)





Colorful Colorado

Okay so we took a trip to Colorado a month ago.  I have spent at least 45 minutes this morning trying to figure out how to post-date a blog posting because I remember in a few months ago finding an article on how to do that and because I knew I'd never forget I did not email said article to myself.  Well, after hunting around on the internet this morning I have given up for the time being and am acknowledging my severe lack of techno savvy.  While I'd like to have everything in chronological order that's just not happening today so here's a recap of our trip.

We went to Grand Lake, CO to visit Philip's dad and his wife.  Grand Lake is about an hour and half outside of Denver.  Now if the terrain was like it is in Oklahoma it'd be more like 30 minutes but that kinda gives a vague location of where we were at.  It also gives you an idea of the amount of time we spent in the car (11 hours).  It was the first week of June so the mornings were a little chilly but it warmed up nicely pretty quickly.

Our first day we went to Adam's Falls and hiked a short distance in what I am thinking was part of Rocky Mountain National Park but I could be very wrong there.  Annie enjoyed figuring out how to climb on the rocks. 

So did Philip.

Just kidding, this is not a rock he scaled there, this is actually in Winter Park, CO. 
Anyway, after that we wandered around the town of Grand Lake and later that evening drove through some of Rocky Mountain National Park and viewed some moose and elk.  Now would be an appropriate time to insert pictures of the beautiful mountain scenery and animals.  However, I'm not a person that really enjoys looking back at pictures of scenery or animals.  I like to see pictures with people in them and if possible in front of the beautiful scenery or animals (provided they aren't getting mauled) and so I didn't take any pictures of the beauty that is "Colorful Colorado" although Philip did so we have some for posterity's sake.
Tuesday we went kyaking.  By we I mean Philip and his dad did the actual kyaking while the rest of us wandered around the lake they were kyaking in.  Annie really liked this.  She soon figured out the joy of throwing rocks in the water and seeing/hearing the splash.  That evening we drove to the Continental Divide so that Annie could stand on a mountain with snow. 

As you can see from the look on our faces in picture above snow on a mountain in Colorado in June is not really easy to walk on.  Also, we found that the Continental Divide is a site many people feel like they can give their dogs a rest stop so we were having to watch for those land mines while navigating our short distance up.

The next day we drove through Rocky Mountain National Park and into Estes Park on the other side of the mountain.  This was a place in Colorado I'd never been and while it was a typical touristy CO town it was fun to meander through.  Here we rode on a gondola up a mountain for a view of the town.  Lest anyone think we were taking a fancy boat like you've probably seen in Venice going down canals let me correct the picture in your mind. It resembled a British telephone booth (similar to what Harry Potter gets in to go to the Ministry of Magic) with open windows and it's suspended on a cable.

Annie really enjoyed this ride up which was kind of a surpise to me because she's pretty timid about most things.  When we got to the top she got to climb and jump on rocks and for some reason felt the need to say "Princess!" every time she jumped off a rock.  I'd like to say in the following picture she and I are looking down at the tall rock we just scaled or at some cute chimpmunk eating a piece of bread but no, it's more me trying to get her to look up so Philip can get her picture on the rock and her refusing to acknowledge the camera.

Day four found us in Winter Park for the majority of the day.  Annie had spotted a playground on our way through to the Continental Divide and it's a pretty little town that provided sunshine and stores to walk through so that's what we did after she played for long while. 

Annie also got her first taste of hot tea when we found a Chinese restraunt to eat lunch in.  She is big on anything small or petite and loved drinking out of the little tea cups.

It was now Friday and time to begin our trip back.  Philip planned for us to stay a night with his Aunt Toni in Denver so we said goodbye to Kevin and Grand Lake and headed that way.  We got to Denver around 11:30 AM and had plenty of time to spend before Toni was off work so we found The Wildlife Experience which was close to where she lived and ventured through it.

This was a fun stop for Annie.  It's basically a museum that shows different wildlife areas with stuffed animals (real, not toy) and you go through the different climates and locations.  Here you can see Annie looking for Nemo.

We walked through it once and then it was getting close to nap time so we went to the 3D movie they had hoping it'd give us a place that was dark and would lull a 3 year-old to sleep.  After the initial fun with the glasses, Annie was out about 2 minutes into the opening credits and this allowed us to sit and watch the show while she napped soundly for about 45 minutes.  Here we are before the show:

As funny as it may seem being it was a family vacation that is our only group pic.  A group portrait taken by Philip in a movie theater that ended up looking like something from 1970 because of the lighting.  Oh well, the picture still makes me laugh and I can't complain because I didn't do my part to take pictures on the trip, all the above photos were captured by Philip via his iPhone.

After our Wildlife Experience we spent the night with Toni and Ralph and had good conversation and fun catching up.  Saturday we drove back to Stillwater with Annie telling us the whole time, "I liked our trip to Colorado."


So long St. Louis

Day 4 in St. Louis was our last. Due to the late evening at the City Museum & resulting near midnight bedtime Annie & Philip stayed at the hotel while I finished my last 4 hours of class. They had a fancy breakfast at the hotel & hunted down everything Annie had unpacked in the room as I tried to write down every last note & tip they gave to help with preparing for certification.

We then road tripped it back to OK. It was a really nice trip - Missouri really has beautiful scenery. As has become tradition for some random reason on our trips we stopped at a Cracker Barrel & ate lunch along the way home.

Everything went very well until we were about 30 minutes from home & Annie announced she had to potty. If you have traveled from Stillwater to Tulsa you know this location has no rest stops or gas stations anywhere near by. This led to Annie's first outdoor urination experience & hopefully one of the last. I am happy to report neither of us ended up wet even though I had to cradle hold her while she went because squatting just didn't work for her. After she was done she announced to her father that she had "tee-teed in the weeds & that was so gross!" I was just grateful we had hand sanitizer in tow. Oddly enough after we got back on the main highway (Philip was kind enough to
pull down a side road) we passed a random port-a-potty. I still think the great outdoors was more sanitary than that option.

We made it home soon after that having had a wonderful extra long weekend.


Saturday in St. Louis

Day 3 in St. Louis started pretty much the same for me. I had another 8 hours of class in a room that they decided to keep at sub-zero temperatures which made me think at any time an icicle would fall from the chandelier but kept me focused on the discussion so I really have no reason to complain.

Philip & Annie ventured out to the zoo. Per Philip's report it was a pretty typical zoo but they did have a baby elephant. The OKC zoo also has a baby elephant but we didn't get to see that one until it was about 9 months old. This one had just come out of the neonate period since it was born in May (look at me using some info from class). Another stand-out was a butterfly house which was quite fun for Annie since she had zoned in on the face painting early on & become a butterfly herself. (Pic below).

After I was done with class we all headed out to the City Museum. This was something Philip was looking forward to & I was intrigued by because he'd read an article in the Wall Street Journal about it last year & had told me about it.

We got there and the place is something to say the least. It basically is an office building that has been turned into a huge indoor playground for kids and adults. They have different areas & as their slogan says they "are always building." The place consists of large architectural pieces, industrial building supplies, old vehicles, random parts of statues & sculptures, & all sorts of memorabilia. It's all put together into a huge playground with different areas. Check out the website for reference.

It was quite an experience! There was lots of crawling, climbing, & sliding by both Annie & Philip & a little of it done by me. We went to all the various floors and checked out the different areas & the uniqueness & craziness of it all made it great fun. To end the evening we saw a magic show that was made even better by Annie laughing & clapping louder & longer than anyone. We had a great evening & Annie slept well that night. :)


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I'm blessed with fun days, happy moments, & precious memories...this is where I store some of them.