Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Saturday, February 28, 2009

9 months

Interview Me (part two)

2. Do you like living in Idaho Falls? Why or why not?

For the most part, I like living in Idaho Falls. I love my job and our home. Joe loves his job. The culture embraces physical activity and there are so many outdoor activities to participate in. There’s always someone who’s up for a hike, or skiing, or running (if you’re into running…I’m not). Yellowstone is just a few hours away. Also, for a small city, there is a fair number of fun restaurants and shows. We aren’t the best at making new friends, but we’ve finally started to build some community around here.

Things I don’t like about Idaho Falls…First, it’s far from our family. We spend almost all of our vacation time making the 600 mile drive back up north to visit our family. It would be so great to have our parents and siblings live just an hour or two away. We miss them a lot. If Idaho Falls were a 2 hour drive from Lewiston, we’d probably stay here forever.

The other thing that is difficult about Idaho Falls is the religious overtones that influence everything. There is a strong LDS influence in all things from people asking what ward you attend, to fireworks being rescheduled because the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday, to not being able to order alcohol on Sundays. It’s a little harder on new people here if they aren’t Mormon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Interview Me!

My friend, Deanna, offered to interview me. 5 questions arrived in my in-box last week and now I'm to answer them here for you all to enjoy. However, since I'm long winded (and, for some reason, into posting "series"), I'll be posting them in a 5-part series so you can slowly savor each answer. :)

1. How did you decide to go into nursing? Are you happy with that decision?

Long story short, I was interested in healthcare and my RA was a nursing major. After talking to her and learning more about nursing (although my mom was a nurse, the view I held then of nursing was more of a “physician’s handmaiden” kind of view), I decided to join the nursing program. For the most part, I love nursing. I love the diversity of careers that are available in nursing: teaching, writing, consulting, acute care, home care, case management, and various advanced practice nursing roles. Right now, I’m a gastroenterology nurse practitioner and love my job. I like the regular hours, the fact that no one is going to die on me during my “shift", and that I get to spend time with my patients and include health promotion and education during their visits. I like the relationship that develops over time and I think my patients appreciate the holistic care I give them and the time I spend with them. Also, not that this is the reason I went into nursing, but nursing is a financially stable career that also has historically been family friendly (as most nurses are women). I love that part, especially now that I have Sam.

There are days when I am disgruntled that I am in nursing. A lot of people don’t understand the difference between a physician, physician’s assistance and a nurse practitioner and don’t see the value in the different aspects I bring to their care (namely, my education in being able to communicate and also the emphasis in health promotion). I take the time to call my patients and talk to their family members because I feel like that helps my patient’s health; this is not something that is usually emphasized in the medical model. A lot of people (patients, physicians, insurance companies) think I’m “just a nurse” and don’t understand my qualifications as an independent healthcare provider. I’ve even had some providers speak rudely to me or write degrading things in their office notes about me, simply because I am not a physician.

But, that’s their problem, I guess. I continue to point out the advantages of being cared for by a nurse practitioner who bases care on a nursing model. I continue to explain exactly what a NP does and contributions that nurses have made to the healthcare field (if it weren’t for Florence Nightingale, there would be no handwashing or infection control in hospitals). I think that in a few years, I will probably go back to school and get my Doctorate of Nursing Practice and officially be Dr. Kaufman. Maybe when Sam goes to kindergarten.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I asked my friend, Mandy, who is another tired mom, if I could share this email with you.


I had to send a note about your blog—when I saw your “Days till MAUI” countdown a little while ago, I immediately started wondering…”M.A.U.I.”? What does that stand for? Some kind of medical thing maybe? Or Mothers Against Underage Ilks?

Seriously, it took me days…until one day it hit me. Not M.A.U.I., but Maui…like, Hawaii…like, I really need a vacation. ;o)

Anyway, just had to pass this on so you could laugh at me like I laughed at myself. Hope that you guys are all doing well, I love reading your blog every week.
Take care,

Yes, Joe and I are headed for Maui in 12 short days. It will be the first time we've left Sam, but he's staying with his Ninang, so he won't even notice we're gone.

Monday, February 23, 2009

my other mother

There is simply nothing like being a mom. You are the Chosen One. You are the Favorite. You are Mom. Your baby prefers you above all others, even Dad. He holds his chubby arms up so you will carry him. He cries when other people try to hold him. If he could talk, he'd say, "Give me my Mom and a boob and I can take on the world."

Unless you have a twin sister.

Then, your baby gets confused. (We'll say confused because I refuse to think that he actually PREFERS her to his own mother who carried him for nine miserable months.) He doesn't shy away from her. He babbles happily in her arms. In fact, I'll be nursing him and then he cries for her to carry him when she walks by. This went on all last week. Over and over, I would say, "Sam! That's not your mom!" He didn't get it.

I thought he was obsessed with Amy until one day, Noah sat down in my lap and said, "Are you Mom or Ninang?" He asked me this every day we were together until the last day of our visit when he concluded, "No, you are Mom and Ninang."

So much for individuality.

Friday, February 20, 2009

rattling his cage

With our ever-more-mobile son, we have begun sectioning off our house with baby gates. Sam's favorite gate is across the hallway to the kitchen. It's not his favorite because he enjoys being quarantined; it's his favorite because it makes noise when it rattles!

Here is Sam and his fellow "prisoners", although Doc usually loses interest quickly. Schatzi resigns herself and settles down to do her time with that darn baby. Solidarity, sister! We'll break out!

I think I can wiggle this loose. Almost there.

Argh! Foiled again.
(Actually, he's laughing...a big, open-mouthed belly laugh).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

maybe you thought I was joking...

...but I wasn't. I was tired in this picture, so I have the whole Ninang-car-eyes thing going on.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

25 things

I'm not much for being tagged with blogging "assignments", but since I put all this effort into my 25 things list for my facebook account, I thought I would take the time to post it here, too. Don't can read it without fear of being tagged.

1. I didn’t want to do this list. I think I’ve been tagged by 25 people at this point and have just been putting it off, but here I am…

2. I’m a procrastinator.

3. I just learned how to text this year. (Yeah, not so technology-savvy).

4. I LOVE shoes. Love ‘em. I recently bought a pair of patent leather peep-toe pumps. Joe’s been married to me long enough that when I told him I bought a pair of “patent-leather peep-toe pumps”, he knew exactly what I was talking about.

5. Joe and I teach a marriage preparation class for our church on intimacy. Part of intimacy is learning each other’s interests. That’s why he knew about my shoes.

6.I love to travel and have been to Vancouver, BC, Phoenix, London, Amsterdam, Manila, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Belize, DC, New York, San Fran, San Diego, Seattle, multiple places in the Inland NW, but have never been to Portland, OR.

7. Since I graduated high school, I have moved nine times. It’s great to be a homeowner (finally!) and not unpack knowing I’ll be moving again in 6-12 months.

8. I was in drill team in high school. We were called the Bengalettes, wore tights, and did numbers to “Mission Impossible”…oh, and “River Dance”. We were eclectic.

9.I love good, interesting food and would probably weigh 200lbs if I still lived in Seattle. Maybe it’s better that Idaho Falls is not a hotbed of culinary innovation.

10. I share an office with another nurse practitioner, who is from Deery, ID and is a kick in the pants. People at work call our office “the dorm room”.

11. I dislike most vegetables. I make a concerted effort to eat them only because I am now a mother and I want Sam to like vegetables. At least, his dad likes them.

12. I am afraid of driving in the snow and snakes.

13. I love sleep and call my bed “Bed”…not “the bed”, “our bed”, or “my bed”…just “Bed”.

14.I wish I were better at sports and more athletically gifted.

15. I really like school and plan to get my doctorate some day. Maybe when Sam goes to kindergarten.

16.Being a mom is the best, most rewarding, hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

17.Being pregnant was just the hardest thing I’ve done. I hated that. There was nothing beautiful about being pregnant. I was a huge, swollen cow with heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. I didn’t even like Sam when I was pregnant. Fortunately, I like him enough now to make up for that.

18.When I was a kid, I used to go to 3-D archery shoots and win trophies.

19.My nephew and Sam get my twin sister and I mixed up.

20.I don’t recycle, but I don’t believe that makes me a bad person.

21.I like to think I’ve done a fair number of noteworthy things in my life, but my biggest accomplishment was getting Amy’s twin girls to sleep…at the same time!

22.I always leave the gas tank almost empty. Joe always fills it up. God bless my patient husband.

23.Other random hobbies I used to have: figure skating (too many broken bones), gymnastics (no talent), clogging (loved it!), playing the piano (always get stage fright), ballet (took adult ballet classes in college).

24.I got my first hangover in college after Quadstock and too much tequila. I drug my hungover, puking self to the homeless shelter I volunteered at every weekend the day after…it wasn’t such a good idea.

25.I talk to my sister and nurse Sam at lunch every day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

weekly wisdom: Sam's first bump

We were in Lewiston last week, helping my mom recover from surgery. (I'm sure having your daughters invade your home with their four kids was super relaxing). As we hurried to get ready for church Sunday morning, I left Sam under the watchful eyes of his Ninang and Lala and ran downstairs to get some toys for Noah.

Halfway down the stairs, I heard Sam crying. Sam hardly ever cries. Earlier that week, he'd pulled a barstool over as he was trying to pull himself up. He fell onto the ground and the barstool landed on top of him. Not a peep. He doesn't cry when he gets shots either.

So, when I heard him cry, I immediately ran upstairs and found my recently-operated-on-no-lifting-over 10 lbs- mother, holding my 23 lb screaming baby. Sam had pulled himself up to standing while holding on to the coffee table and lost his balance, bumping his forehead on the coffee table on the way down.

I picked him up and nursed him while he alternately nursed and cried. A good sized purple egg was forming on his forehead. I felt like throwing up. Amy started calling him the one-eyed-one-horned-flying purple people-eater.

Fortunately, no harm was done and Sam went on his merry way, babbling through Mass and trying to vex his cousin, Noah, by stealing Noah's cars and toys.

Unfortunately, every mother at Mass who came by to say hi also noticed his bump and had to comment on it. As one grandma commented on his bump, tears filled my eyes. She said, "Don't worry, honey. I'm sure it hurt you more than it hurt him."

Maybe so. Nevertheless, I think I'm going to wrap him in bubble wrap and make him wear a helmet until he's 18.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

weekly wisdom

Sam can eat so many more foods these days. I thought I would be creative and make a cantaloupe-grape puree from leftover fruit.

Now that my kitchen is covered in a sticky mess, I thought I would pass along this fine advice:

Don't puree grape and cantaloupe. They are too juicy. It shoots right out of the food processor and into your eye.

Hopefully, this announcement will prevent many moms from going blind this year.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

happy Valentine's Day!

Joe and I had our Valentine celebration last week as our church held a special Mass so that married couples could renew their vows and then the Knights of Columbus held a dinner and dance aftewards. We were the youngest people there, but it was still a good time.
So, honey, since we're apart on Valentine's Day, I'm sending a special Valentine your way from your two favorite dogs. Don't they look like a heart?

Happy Valentine's Day! I love you!

Friday, February 13, 2009

chubby legs

Dear Sam,

I love your fat, fat legs. I was trying to get a picture of them here, but you were so busy crawling, it kept blurring the shot. So, I succumbed to using the flash, which doesn't make for the nicest pictures, but what are my options when I have a boy who must constantly be in motion these days?
As you move from being a baby to growing into a toddler, I'm going to miss a lot of things about your baby-ness.
But, I think I'm going to miss your chubby legs the most.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

pretty good pack mule

We loved our last cross-country skiing adventure so much that Joe fashioned a ski kit for our own jogging stroller and took Sam out to Kelly Canyon last Sunday. Some nice passers-by took their picture.
Joe: I made a pretty good draft horse. Sam babbled all the way down the hill.
Jen: A draft horse, huh? I always thought of you more like a mule.
I like to get that dig in whenever I can because Joe's junior high mascot was a mule and he is rather stubborn.
Joe: No...a draft horse.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sam has a sweet tooth and had some whipped cream while we ate dessert a few nights ago. He was a big fan...and so was Doc. video

He enjoyed the whipped cream so much I couldn't help but laugh. It was stuffed up his nose, but he didn't seem to care. video

He wasn't very happy when it was all gone.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


We were flipping through our child development book and saw that 8 month old children like to knock down towers of blocks. So, we bought some blocks.
This is what happens when you are married to an engineer.
Sam doesn't care how elaborate the tower is or how long it took to build...he knocks it down with the same gusto.

Monday, February 09, 2009

an enticing offer

For the past few weeks, Noah has been calling me, asking me when I'm planning to come and visit him. And, he often tries to talk me into visiting sooner with some sweet deals.

"Ninang, you have to come to my house. I have toys here. You don't have toys at your house."

"Ninang, when will you come to my house? We are eating food here. You don't have food at your house."

Who can resist an offer like that? So, Wednesday, Tancie, Sam and I are off to visit our northern relatives. Pray for good roads, a happy Sam, and lots of toys and food in Spokane.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

random musings about colonoscopy (part six)

Thanks for listening to my random musings about my colonoscopy. I promise I won’t put you through this when I have another one in five years.

But, as a gastroenterology nurse practitioner, let me take this opportunity to encourage you to get a colonoscopy IF:
*You are over 50 years old, or
*Have a parent or sibling who has had colon polyps or cancer, or
*Are over 40 years old and have a change in your bowel movements.

And, get one done by a gastroenterologist.

The End.

PS. I heart fentanyl and versed.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

weekly wisdom

For the last few weeks, we've been seduced by the cry room at church. A sound-resistant room where those with loud children can seek refuge from the dirty looks of those parishioners without children and escape the sympathetic looks from those parishioners with grown children.

It's a fabulous invention. Parents can still pray and join in church activities without being overly anxious that their child is distracting other worshippers.

At least, that's what I thought until last week.

Last week, I braved taking Sam to church without Joe, who was home sick with a cold. I sat down, nodded hello to the other couple I'd met last week, and settled in to enjoy Mass.

About ten minutes later, a family with 3 small children and a mom with 2 little girls joined our group. All hell broke loose. The two little girls took turns crying and yelling at each other. The 3 small children made truck noises, banged on the baseboard heater, and bickered. Sam, who is normally a pretty quiet boy during church, interpreted the noise as an invitation to join in and babbled at the top of his lungs. Intermingled with all the kids' noises were parents fiercely scolding their kids in loud both English and Spanish. It was so loud in there we couldn't respond with the congregation because we couldn't hear what was going on in the church proper. The people in the nave, though, could clearly hear our cacophony and kept turning around and shooting dirty looks our direction.

Nobody prays in the cry room...

...unless it's a frantic prayer to make their child suddenly be quiet and behave.

Friday, February 06, 2009

weekly wisdom

So, my typical day consists of seeing patients in the clinic until 11:30am and then driving over to Sam's daycare to nurse him and put him down for a nap. Then, back to work for the afternoon until it's time to go home.

Today, I got to the daycare and began to nurse Sam, only to be promptly thrown up on with some nasty yam-carrot-cereal-milk barf. Fortunately, I cleaned my arm up as best I could, put the boychild down for a nap, and headed back to work.

This afternoon, none of my patients would make eye contact with me. Their eyes kept wandering to my chest. Finally, my nurse recommended I look in the mirror.

I'd cleaned up the barf on my arm, but totally missed the orange puke that covered my right boob. What made it art is that it even peaked in the a little nipple.

Lessons learned:
1. Button lab coat after lunch.
2. Always check appearance before returning to work.
3. Those books that say babies stop spitting up after six months? They are written by liars!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

random musings about colonoscopy (part five)

I tell my patients to expect bloating after they have a colonoscopy. After all, the endoscopist insufflates the colon with gas and the patient later has to pass that out.

My gut grumbled all day long. And, all night long.

Through out the night, Sam kept waking up and babbling away. I finally got up to check on him, only to find him sound asleep.

Turns out it was my gut babbling away.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Dear Sam

Dear Sam,

Tonight, while we were getting ready for bed, you leaned your head on my shoulder.

And, then you did the most incredible thing.

You signed your first sign.

It was "milk".

I always knew you were advanced.

And that you really, really love the, I mean "milk".

Love, Mom



Sam has been obsessed with dog chewies for the last week.

Since we have a casual relationship with cleanliness in our house, I haven't been too aggressive about taking the dog chewies away from him...even when he chews on them.

At least, Doc is willing to share...a little.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

bottles o' fun

We have a few bottles that we got as gifts that are cute, but didn't take the nipples Sam was used to. So, we've been using them as toys. I give him one when I change his diaper. Or, to play with while I'm making dinner.

Last night, he discovered they make fabulous toys to chase around the living room. What can I say? He's an inventive kid.


Sorry for the choppy camerawork midway through. I got the giggles.

random musings about colonoscopy (part four)

Oh, conscious sedation is such a wonderful, wonderful thing. Ah, Versed. Ah, Fentanyl. I can see the appeal behind becoming an IV drug abuser. Not that I would, of course…but, I can empathize.

I remember talking to my sedation nurse about his 3 week old baby and the next thing I remember is Joe walking me into Baskin-Robbins.

He says I demanded we stop there. I say he’s a liar, although I dearly love Baskin-Robbins.

I heart Versed and Fentanyl.

A lot.

Monday, February 02, 2009

random musings about colonoscopy (part three)

In between starving for 24 hours and drinking a ton of laxatives, I was somewhat placated by the thought that I was, at least, losing weight.

I would drink a glass of prep and, while choking it down, would admire my increasingly skinny legs and feet.

I even felt lighter.

Until I weighed myself after the procedure...and found out I'd gained 2lbs!!

What the hell?!?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

random musings about colonoscopy (part two)

So, the worst part about having a colonoscopy is the day before. You have to fast, which--ask my husband--makes me crabby. And, then you have to drink a ton of nasty tasting laxatives.

Knowing I had to fast just made me that much hungrier, so I made a mental list of all the delicious things I was going to eat as soon as I finished my colonoscopy.

I ate jello by the mixing bowl full.

I drank Diet Coke like it was going out of style.

I also drank HalfLytely like it was going out of style…albeit not happily. I would chug a glass of prep and chant over and over in my head, "I don't want my boss to see poop in my colon. I don't want my boss to see poop in my colon." kept me going.

And, I nearly cried every time a food commercial came on TV. Why does the Angry Whopper have to look so delicious? Or, why does Johnny Carino's choose today to start their Two-Can-Dine for $19.99? Or, why is Applebee's bragging about their delicious steaks for $9.99?

I never realized there were so many delicious food commercials on TV.