Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Preparedness: A First Aid Kit

I've been meaning to do this post for a year! I put this super first aid kit together last year during my Spring Break after getting the inspiration from this blog post. I took the boys to Walmart and we started shopping! I love the way a tackle box can organize everything and make it easy to access supplies in a hurry.

Let me give you a tour!

Opening up the lid, I have all sorts of emergency supplies right on hand:

I have tools, like a stethoscope (I keep my good one at work, but I have this one here, plus another one in my car's first aid kit), and a digital blood pressure monitor (plus batteries). I keep my other blood pressure cuff in my car's kit.

I keep cleansing and disinfecting liquids up here: hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, betadine, eye wash, antibacterial cleaner, saline syringes, and then also aloe vera gel and petroleum jelly.

 Also tucked on top in this top compartment I have hand warmers, an ice bag, goggles, an emergency blanket, and a sling.

On the right side compartment on top I keep some tape, a tourniquet, some gauze, cotton balls, and a few saline syringes (which could be used to flush wounds or eyes).

On the left side is a digital thermometer with extra tip covers (what if I'm helping a group of people?), some bandage scissors, and a pen light.

With the lid closed, there are two other compartments on the sides.

On the left I have some glucose tabs and some sore throat lozenges, as well as my CPR mouth shield and an emergency airway.

On the right I have N95 respirator masks (which block out viruses and other airborne pathogens) and then some lighter face masks which are good for short time periods. I also keep gloves here for quick access.

Opening up the front compartment there are three cases.

The first case is for fever and pain. I keep my good temporal thermometer here, children's and adult's pain medications (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin), a mouth/dental pain kit, an ice pack, and dosage syringes.

The second compartment is for allergies, bites, and stings.

I keep bug bite/sting treatments here, along with seasonal allergy meds, and Conor's Benadryl and Epi-Pens (which I also keep in my car and my purse.)

An extra inhaler and even a snake bite kit is kept here.

The third case is for tummy and bowel problems. Antacids, anti-diarrheal, stool softener, laxatives, motion sickness, indigestion/heartburn medications, plus clean up and disposal supplies.

On the either side of the tackle box are two other compartments that I keep basic first aid supplies and wound management supplies in.

Plus, next to the case, I have a disposable gown and some other face masks slid into the space.

Also, some moleskin, which can be a lifesaver! (or at least a foot saver!)

In this case I keep a variety of sizes of bandaids, plus latex-free bandages. Also, different kinds of tapes, gauze, steri-strips, wraps, antibiotic ointment, and liquid bandage.

All of that slides right in!

On the other side, (sorry this picture is blurry!) I have other first aid supplies.

Cotton swabs, a razor, alcohol swabs,

a lighter, electrolytes, tissues, an Ace bandage, sutures,

 a scalpel, tweezers, scissors,

and some sterile gloves tucked on top.

 Having this kit brings me such peace of mind. Everything is gathered into one place, is organized, and is portable. There are a few other things I'd like to get (like a blood sugar monitor, for example), but I think it's pretty comprehensive overall.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Leading With Light

I failed my children. I've hurt them. Probably ruined them.

My friends are all too busy for me.

I'm tired. And I'm lonely. Depleted.

None of my biggest dreams came true.

Life is so hard and sometimes I just get sick of life.

No one really understands me, gets me at my core.  I just don't fit in in this world.

These are the thoughts that assaulted me in the middle of the night last night when I couldn't sleep. I knew who the author of these thoughts was, but still I recognized shades of truth in them. I tossed and turned, and I wept. I wept out loud the way I never can during the day when a child might hear me.

I had such an uplifting and inspirational weekend at Time Out for Women just days before, and it always seems that being filled in that way makes me more of a target for the Adversary. I should have seen it coming. This has been a constant battle for me, these attacks on my self-worth. Sometimes life feels so hopeless that I wonder what the point is, what there is to look forward to. There's just been so much pain and disappointment, and I wish I could have been better in so many ways. I let everyone down. Fundamentally, I'm not sure that I'm a good person.

I couldn't stand it any longer. I got up and turned the light on at 1:35am and started cleaning out my closet. And begging for heavenly intervention. Crying as I took pants down from the shelf that I might as well admit I'm never going to fit into again. Tucking away Dylan's Cub Scout belt and Boy Scout sash, and wishing for so many do-overs with my sweet boy. My wedding dress. From my first marriage. My temple marriage. The dress that my mother sacrificed to painstakingly make for me. The accordion file of ten years of court battles with that first husband who always wanted to pay less money and have more time, who could not just stop fighting. (He's still doing it.) Boxes of projects that never got finished. Pictures of happier, or at least more hopeful days. Tears and more tears.

You should offer more service.

That's the voice I hear, not the answer I want. And I know it's true, but it's also so condemning. I am so wrapped up in my own disappointments and failures and struggles and loneliness. I keep waiting for a happier day so that I can reach out to others. It does occur to me, "What if the happier day comes because I'm reaching out to others?"

I reach a stopping point with the closet, and get back into bed. I reach for a book I keep on my nightstand, a sort of life raft I keep there for middle-of-the-night emergencies such as this, called Spiritual Lightening, by M. Catherine Thomas. My friend Luisa sent it to me several years ago when I'd expressed my struggles to her over the phone.

And what do I read right away?

"We can see how it is a powerful act of faith to give when we feel empty. . ."

"The Lord has so designed it that we find the answers and the fulness we need while we are putting grace into someone else's cup. . ."

Yes, I need to offer more service. I hear you, Lord.

I'm not sure what I have to give yet, but I'm thinking on it and praying on it. There are so many things I cannot control about my life. So many things have not gone the way I would have liked, or even the way I felt I deserved. I've done so many wrong things. But there must still be hope for me, some purpose in me. There must be something that I have to share, to give, some way to lift and lighten.

I would like to be that woman: the woman who leads with her light.

And the light should shine outward.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Feeling Blue, or maybe Periwinkle

Maybe it's the approach of spring, but I've been dreaming about gardens. Specifically, I've been dreaming about a blue and white garden. I love the blue, blue-ish, periwinkle, and deep inky violet flowers. My front yard is pretty much desolate and I've been thinking and planning how to make it beautiful.

This morning I actually woke up refreshed. I'd been able to sleep (mostly) through the night, and so instead of going back to bed after taking the kids to school, as I usually do, I got up and showered and decided to make use of the morning hours and the sunshine. I headed to Lowe's. I had some empty pots and I thought that prettying up the porch with flowers was a good start.

I bought all of the blue (and blue-purple) and white flowers that I could find. I tried to find taller varieties, mid-height varieties, and low-growing clumping or trailing kinds. With the exception of two varieties (the ranunculus and freesia, that I just couldn't resist) I bought flowers that should bloom all spring and summer. Most of them are perennials, but some are annuals as well.

 Senetti Bi-Color Blue and White Persian Buttercup Ranunculus

 African Daisy. Hard to tell in this picture, but the centers are blue.

I planned to fill these three pots, plus the ceramic pot on my steps, but ended up having enough flowers to fill a fifth pot as well. Some of the flowers I divided. I didn't really have a plan, I just tried to put taller varieties in the center and then mid-level and low-growing flowers around the edges. 

The white flowers I used were: Persian Buttercup (Ranunculus), Freesia, Bacopa, African Daisy, and Alyssum.

The blue flowers I chose were: Techno Heat Lobelia, Lithodora, Blue Note Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa), Blue Marguerite, Pansy, Nemesia, and Senetti Bi-Color Blue.

So, here are the pots I planted. Many of the flowers are not blooming yet, so I'm hoping that they all will be happy and settle into their new homes and grow beautifully. They all love sun, and sun is what they'll get on my porch. Plus, they make my heart happy every time I open the door.

These colors look a lot more purple-y in photos, but no matter. I love them and hope I am able to do some more to brighten things up in the front of the house. Flowers do something magical for my spirit.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In the Middle of the Night

It's 12:41am and I am wide awake.

I was so tired this afternoon, after working last night and not sleeping enough when I got home before Conor had to be picked up from school. (Tuesdays are early-out days, grrrr.) I went to bed at 8:30pm and only woke up to use the bathroom, but that was enough for the Second Wind to hit. My days and nights are all mixed up. I just ate a slice of pizza, answered some emails, and figured a blog post would be nice. I used to never, ever (past the years of nursing babies, that is) see the wee hours of the night time. Now, I know them well.

I actually love working the night shift. I begin at 6:30pm, as the day nurses wrap up and head home to their families. Mine has been fed dinner and left with last-minute instructions for finishing up homework, chores, and preparing for bedtime.

I love that I drive to work in the opposite direction as traffic. I love that the parking is free for the night shift. I love that most of the doctors go home (at least until we have to call them back for delivery) and things calm down somewhat. I love the stillness outside that surrounds the work of birthing inside. I love that my children are at home sleeping, and that I'm not missing the activities of their days. And I really love the nurses I work with.

Having never been a night person before, all of these discoveries have come as a surprise. In fact, I was even offered a position on the day shift, and I turned it down. Managing my sleep has been the only challenge. I actually schedule it in my planner!  But really, I'm doing okay.

So, now it's 12:50am and I'm thinking of things that need to get done this week in between my working and sleeping:

1. Take Aiden's GPA/Gifted identification paperwork down to the high school he's wanting to get into. (We'll see how that whole thing will work, since it's now a charter and there is no bussing. . . and early morning Seminary is non-negotiable. But for now, we at least do the preparatory steps to see if it's even an option.)

2. Clean my bathroom. Holy. Heavens.

3. Mop the kitchen floor.

4. Dust everything everywhere.

5. Make baked goods in exchange for the work a friend in my ward did sewing all the patches onto Aiden's new Scout uniform.

6. Conor needs a doctor's appointment for a bladder issue he's been having.

7. Taxes need to be done for Lyndsay, Aiden, and me. And then FAFSAs updated.

8. Practice a musical number I'll be singing at a little girl's baptism this weekend.

9. Catch up in my journal. (Ha! Catching up! At least write something.)

10. Prepare for the new songs I have to teach in Primary.

11. Choose recital pieces for my piano students (oh, yeah, I'm still teaching piano!) and get the date and location for that recital nailed down.

The list could go on, but these are the most pressing items. I have books I haven't been able to spend much time reading. I haven't even started my garden, and truthfully, I've even thought about letting it go this season. I have so much to deep clean, declutter, and organize. Projects I'd like to start, or finish. And every day people want to eat. You know how it is. Balancing one's time is one of the great challenges of this life. Lately I'm not sure I've been terrific about it, but what I have been getting better at is allowing myself some grace, for doing the best I can right at this moment, in this season of transition and learning in my life.

My nights used to only be for sleeping, but now I have all kinds of new experiences. Last night I delivered a baby boy and prayed while we worked on him for over three minutes that he'd take his first breath, and later, I sat with a couple I'd come to know over the last week, whose baby was born unexpectedly and will pass away within a few days from a condition they didn't know she had. I marvel that these experiences are mine.

Sometimes, when sleep is difficult to find, I lie in bed and pray. I go through my day with my Heavenly Father and thank Him for bringing me here, allowing me these privileges, and then I ask Him for help with all of the things that I'm struggling with. I pray for each of my children, at length. I ask for clarity and wisdom. And sometimes, I just ask for sleep. Which, though never in excess (like I sometimes wish for), comes according to my needs, like every other blessing.

Now, it is 1:11am. My alarm will go off at 5:30, so I guess it's time to try again.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day

 roses from Adam

My second favorite holiday! Of course I try to show my love every day, but I really enjoy a chance to amp it up a bit just for fun. If I were to use my romantic life as a barometer, Valentine's Days most of my life would be an utter disappointment, but fortunately, there are so many people to love, and I am an optimist. 

I love to find creative Valentine ideas for the kids' classrooms. This year I only had Conor's class to prepare for, and loved this idea I found on Pinterest. 

We set it up factory style. Adam cut the slits in the tags, I slid the rulers through, and Conor affixed the stickers.


I prepared little gift bags for my kids at home (and mailed one to Dylan). I chose special cards for each of them and wrote my love letter to them inside. Unfortunately, I had to work the night before Valentine's, so I didn't get home in time to make them the traditional pink breakfast, but I left their gift bags for them to find.

Valentine carnage.

The sweet card Conor made for me this year. I love it so much.

And though I should have been sleeping, I couldn't help but bake sugar cookies with the kids after school. (And now I can't stop eating them!)

One of the best Valentine treats a mom could ask for! Lyndsay drove home for the long weekend.

Aiden wanted to do something fun for one of his friends for Valentine's Day. She loves elephants, so we went in search of a cute stuffed friend. This guy fit the bill. We mailed him off with a card.

And she sent a card to him! Boy, did she!

A day full of sweetness.  For that, I am grateful.