Wednesday, August 31, 2011

School, work, school, work, school.

I think that pretty much sums up my schedule. School and work. And no time for anything else, but maybe a few rounds of tackle football with Elem in the living room floor! ha! Nursing school is in full swing and I am already trying desperately to keep my head above water. My classes are awesome but so hard-I'm in OB, which I LOVE, but I despise the tests. They are so hard and detailed. My clinicals I love as well, but again long 12 hour shifts make for a tired mommy who greatly misses her fam while she is gone. I am trying to keep a balance and not get behind, because I know it is so easy to do, and I will never be able to get back ahead if I slack off. In addition to school, I also completed my training (after about 20 shifts it seems) and I am loving it already! Currently, I am a tech at Arkansas Children's Hospital, on the Hematology/Oncology Unit, which is where all the patients with cancer or blood disorders are admitted. I love love love this job, and have already seen a few patients who have "gotten their wings" in the short time I have been there. It is for sure a difficult area to work, but I love a great challenge and the kids are amazing! I have learned so much already, and am feeling more comfortable in the hospital/nursing environment than I was just a few short months ago. During a shift, I do vitals, urine dips, and other "nurse assistant" jobs I guess you could say. Nothing fancy, but Ill take it if it secures me a job with ACH, which is next to impossible to get! Just telling myself I gotta pay my dues and before I know it I will be graduated and working there as an RN! I am so excited and cant wait to get OB completed and move right along to PEDS. Just a few more weeks and I will be there. So, off to study now, and try to squeeze in some play time with Elem. Or some cuddling-I am game for both! (As elem would call it, "cuddle wuddle buddle momma'".

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our House

Well with the summer coming to an end, that also means my time at Our House Shelter is nearing an end too! Since the creation of this blog I have tried not to post too much on Our House, to keep my blog more centered on my family, rather than work. But what I have neglected is actually my other family. My other family being all the kids and families I have had the honor to be a part of and watch grow over the last 4 1/2 years! It is with GREAT sadness and some serious anxiety that I say goodbye to the shelter. I began my journey as the Manager of Children's Programs for Our House with what I THOUGHT would be similar to that of a Child Care Director, for which I was prepared and excited. But my role developed into more of a meaningful, difficult, unorganized, and chaotic description than I could ever describe. In short-I have developed and implemented programs revolving around the kids both living at Our House and those participating in our programs birth-15 years of age. Even though there have been more long days than I would like to remember, more tears over stressful situations and sad endings to family crises, there have also been more hugs and smiles than I could have ever asked for, more deep and amazing relationships with families, and countless bonds with those who were seeking advice and direction from me, when I sometimes didn't know what to give back.

Not only have I been hugely impacted by Our House, but my family has also. Elem grew up in the Child Care-from 2 months old-until now. And he LOVES the place and would go there every day if he could. The experiences he has had there make me so proud of him, and of the open minded, loving, and non judgmental preschool he is today. He does not see color when choosing friends, he does not see status or kind of clothes worn, and most importantly he more than anything wants to be accepted BY them and feels comfortable at the shelter. I could not have asked for more of a blessing raising my child and having him with me at work every day for the first 3 years of his life. Some days were hard, and difficult to chose work over him, because he was always close by, but others allowed me to experience things right along with him, and I think it created a great bond that I am so thankful for!

I am tearful just writing this blog, thinking that I am not at work today with the kids. :( Our House fills a big piece of my heart, and even though I feel as if I am letting them down by not being there every day, I know that I am making a good strong choice for my own family, by taking some time to finish my last year of nursing school and get some experience in that field. It was such a hard decision to make the transition out of the shelter, but I am so glad I had the chance to do it over the last year, so I know things have been transferred over successfully! All in all, I have learned more about homelessness in general, the affect it has on our children and the burdens they have to carry every single day, while trying to grow up all at the same time! It is amazing how strong they are, and how much they can handle. It seriously blows my mind. All that being said, my chest physically hurts when I think about my not being there. I am somewhat in denial, and kind of feel like I am just on a vacation or something, and that I will just bounce back into the Our Club room and sit at my desk tomorrow. Sigh. I am so proud of the Children's Programs that are there and how much of an impact they have had on so many kids, I can't even explain it. And my goal is to just look at this whole transition phase of my life as a positive time for gaining experience in my new field, and a chance to give back by volunteering rather than working at the shelter. Its good for the soul!!! Here is the link to the shelter, if you want to take a look at where I have been all this time! Just click on the PROGRAMS tab and then CHILDRENS PROGRAMS so see all the fun!

Mrs. and I (yes that is her real name and it suits her so perfectly!) at the shelter-Perfect example of why I had the BEST job in the whole wide world! Free hugs all day long and endless love to go around!
One of my favorite pics of all time :)
Kyron, Elem, Shamaine, Isaiah, and Treshawn @ the zoo.
Nyronn, me, Zadie, and Ka'Shaun
Mariquarius, me, Dasmine, and Kyron @ graduation-which was fabulous I might add!

Jacovee and me-this is one of Elem's BFFs for the last couple of years (he and his twin brother!)
I love Our House and the kids that make up its clients/residents and hope I can still be a huge part of the programs continuing to provide experiences and opportunities for Elem to learn and grow from kids just like him, simply with a few extra hurdles in life. I will NEVER forget the kids who allowed me to step in and be a tiny piece of their picture, and am forever blessed and impacted more than words can explain.