Ground Hog Day ’21

12:00 am

Another Ground Hog Day.

So much is the same but also so much is different this year.

My day starts at work. I’m still at the Sleep Lab.

Tonight I have two patients, a diagnostic study and a retitration.

12:30 am

Everything has settled down from the set ups. The diagnostic study is quiet but I am having a very difficult titration. I typically eat around midnight. Tonight it’s an “adult lunchable and a coke.” I have soup but I don’t think I have the time to heat it up and eat it while it’s warm.

In addition to my difficult titration I’m still finishing scoring from my last shift.

1:15 am

Added a back up pressure to my titration and have made several trips into the room to fix mask leaks.

2:00 am

Switching my patients mask due to leaks. Still working on finishing up my scoring.

2:20 am

Finished my scoring. It’s a rough night. I didn’t sleep much during the day, so I am struggling to stay alert.

3:00 am

I usually eat again sometime between 2:00 am and 3:00 am. I’m not really feeling hungry so I just have a coke and a snack bag of popcorn.

4:00 am

Too tired to study (which I try to do most nights). One of my patients indicated he usually gets up around 5:30 am, so I start staging and scoring the studies I’m running so I’ll have less to do in the morning.

5:30 am

All caught up with my studies. Now just waiting for my patients to wake up. I check my email. Finally received my offer letter for the position I’m transferring to next month. This transfer has been a long process. I think I applied for the job in October. Interviewed in November. Got my first offer at the beginning of December. Didn’t accept that one. They came back with a second offer in January which I accepted and was just waiting for the offer letter before officially resigning from my Sleep Tech position.

5:40 am

One of my patient’s wakes up. I end his study and go in to disconnect him.

5:50 am

My other patient goes into REM, so I won’t be getting her up anytime soon, so I go back to my email. I reply to the recruiter and then type up a letter of resignation from my current position.

6:30 am

My other patient comes out of REM, so I end the study and get her disconnected. Then start cleaning my wires.

7:15 am

I get a text from Annelise’s sitter that they are out front. She drops Annelise off at the Sleep Lab on her way to work, and then Annelise hangs out until I’m done.

7:40 am

Finishing up my studies, and putting away my equipment. Find a nice note from one of my patients.

7:50 am

Punch out. Starting to regret not eating more earlier as I am really hungry. Convince Annelise to let me go through the drive-thru and get a biscuit. She doesn’t eat a lot of fast food and sometimes judges me when I do.

After the drive thru we head home.

8:15ish am

Get to the house. Annelise’s first online class is at 9:00 am. She is 100% virtual this year. If we get home before 8:30 am, I try to take Lulu for a walk. She seems to have better days when we walk before I go to bed, instead of just playing in the backyard. Annelise likes to join us so I try to get us home on time in the mornings so that we can all go for a walk together before she starts her first class.

8:40ish am

Back home from our walk. I start a pot of water to boil pasta for Annelise’s lunch. Then start the process of feeding animals and packing Annelise’s lunch. I also start to get her ready for the day. Each day her teacher emails a “to do” list and then I copy that along with other useful information onto a white board above Annelise’s desk.

8:50 am

Annelise logs onto her computer and gets ready for her first meeting (she prefers to call them meetings instead of classes).

9:00 am

I take Kikapu outside for her yearly impersonation of a ground hog. Unlike the official ground hog, she doesn’t see her shadow. So we’ll see who’s correct.

9:15ish am

Finish assembling Annelise’s lunch, deliver it to her room, make sure all the animals have food and water, throw a load of dark clothes into the washing machine and then start getting myself ready for bed.

9:30ish am

Crawl into bed. Kikapu spend the day in my room with me. She still spends most of her time sleeping in my laundry basket.

I hear the wind outside, it’s rattling my window and I start to wonder if it’s going to blow something off my house. I hear the cat’s chasing each other around the house. And every few minutes I hear Annelise run from her room to the living room, get a piece of candy out of the candy jar on the bookcase and then run back to her room. She doesn’t think to just grab a handful instead of making numerous trips. Every time she enters the living room the security camera notices and sends me a message. I put my phone on do not disturb so it won’t ding every time there is movement and I’m pretty sure I’m asleep before 10 am.

? pm

At some point during the day (I’m pretty sure it is after lunch). Annelise opens the door to my room and asks me a question. I don’t remember what the question was or if I gave an appropriate answer, but I briefly recollect talking to her, which is more than I can say for some days. The other day I woke up and discovered that she had eaten an entire sleeve of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. When I asked her why, she said that she had came in and asked me if she could and I had said yes. She got mad at me one day because apparently I had agreed to something while I was sleeping but then said No once I was awake.

4:50 pm

I wake up a few minutes before my alarm goes off. Being able to sleep past 2 pm has been one of the best things about going virtual for the school year. I think I’m getting more sleep during the day than I have since Annelise was born.

As I’m laying in bed, I hear Annelise jumping around her room. I then hear her chanting and realize she’s practicing her dances.

I get out of bed and go check on her and the animals. Let Lulu out. Take the wash out of the machine and throw it into the dryer. I try not to dawdle because we need to leave early for dance so that I can go to the store before work.

5:30ish pm

Jump in the shower. Get ready for work. Make sure Annelise is packed for the sitter tonight, and that she has the right dance shoes in her bag (tonight is ballet and tap, tomorrow is contemporary, jazz and hip hop), help her get into her tights and leotard, pack my work bag, make sure all the animals have had the opportunity to go out and that they all have supper and fresh water.

6:10 pm

My goal had been to leave by six but ten after isn’t too bad.

We stop at Kroger. I just need a few things. Annelise attempts to hide from me sot that I won’t take her picture. Last year she was into having me document our day. Now she doesn’t want her picture taken.

She says she’s going to walk behind me so I can’t take her picture.

6:30 pm

I drop her at Dance and then head to work. Her sitter will pick her up from dance and keep her overnight.

6:45 pm

Punch in at work and start getting ready for the night. I have one pediatric patient scheduled. When I have a pediatric patient I like to set up my room early and I color coordinate my wires so that I don’t have to look at the box when I’m setting them up.

7:30 pm

My patient arrives. I show them to their room. Go over all the paperwork and allow them to get settled before I start the set up.

9:00 pm

Finished with the set up. Return to the monitoring room. I haven’t eaten since the drive thru this morning so I fix myself a meal and then sit down score my studies from last night. I check my messages to make sure that Annelise was with the sitter. I also check my emails and see that I have a bunch of stuff I need to do related to my transfer. I complete as much of that as I can and then go back to my studies from last night. My pediatric patient falls asleep quickly and I can’t help but admire how pretty the study is (especially for a peds patient, they’re not known to leave wires in place).

10:00 pm

Just scoring my studies.

10:45 pm

The lab phone rings. It’s one of the HST patients with a questions. “The lights on the machine went out, is it still working.” YES!! This is the most common question from the HSTs. I’m sure every tech goes over it in set up but form some reason patients always get concerned when they don’t see lights.

11:59 pm

This concludes another Ground Hog day. Again not very exciting. But pretty much an average day in our lives.

For previous Ground Hog days…

Groundhog Day 2020

I know it’s been over two years since I’ve had anything other than a Groundhog Day post.  I have good intentions to write more often but life has been very busy.

This Groundhog Day is special.  The date is a palindrome.


It’s also Super Bowl Sunday.  But we’re not that into football and I have to work anyway.  Unlike in years past I didn’t work last night and actually was in bed before midnight so my day actually began at a normal time.

8:20 am

Sunday mornings usually begin with Annelise creeping into my room to ask if she can get up.  With the exception of last week when she had friends of and they were up early she is usually never in my room before 8 am.  Her next question is always “Can I get on my iPad?”  This will usually get me another hour before she’s back in my room looking for breakfast.

Annelise heads off to the living room to watch Netflix and I fall back to sleep.  Of course she left my bedroom door open so I soon have company.


8:45 am

Seriously think about getting out of bed.  I have a lot to get done today.  I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks (spent the night in the ER last week), so I’ve been doing the bare minimum housekeeping.  But I have company coming this week and need to get the house presentable.

9:15 am

I hear Lulu barking and know that if I wait much longer Annelise will be in asking about breakfast.

9:25 am

I’m finally out of bed.

Annelise is in the living room playing with LEGOS and watching “How to train your Dragon.”


I start the rounds of letting animals out and filling food bowls.  There is a specific order to how it is done.  The dogs can’t go out at the same time because Lulu will pick on Kikapu.  Lulu also won’t go out until she’s gone through the house and said good morning to everyone.

While Lulu runs around the house I let Kikapu out.  I go out with her so she can do her annual impression of a groundhog.  She once again disagrees with Phil, sees her shade and predicts 6 more weeks of winter.  Well she would have seen her shadow if she had turned around.


After Kikapu goes in, Lulu comes out.  While Lulu’s out I feed the rest of the animals (if Lulu is around she’ll attempt to eat every ones breakfast.

The cats are always particularly vocal about their desire for breakfast.


After all the animals are fed, I get started on breakfast for the humans.


Annelise and I sit down to a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and grape juice.  Sunday morning cinnamon rolls have been a family tradition since my grandpa fixed them for my dad.


After we eat, we do our “memories.”  Ever Sunday morning we write down our favorite thing from that week or just something that happened that we want to remember.  And then we put them in a jar to be read on New Years Eve.


After memories, Annelise gets “paid.”  She has a variety of chores that she can do to earn money, along with keeping track of the things she needs to do like homework, reading and practicing the piano.  We add up what she’s done for the week and she gets her allowance.


She wasn’t satisfied with her take for last week so she’s going to amp up the number of chores she does this week.


Time to tackle the housework.  Sunday is usually the day I tackle this stuff.  I use to do them on Saturday night but since I’m not taking Nursing classes this semester my weeks aren’t as hectic and Sunday is usually a good day.

We start with the laundry.  Once it’s sorted, I can pop loads in while I’m working on other stuff.  Laundry is one of the tasks that Annelise can earn money for so she’s eager to help out.


With the laundry going, I tackle the kitchen.  The rest of my morning goes something like this… wash a few dishes, let Lulu outside… wash a few more dishes, let Lulu back in… wash a few dishes, let Lulu out.  I’m seriously considering a doggy door because she cannot decide whether she wants to be in or out.

Annelise plays quietly in the living room, trading her Legos for blocks and then her blocks for crayons and coloring book.  She is very good at entertaining herself.

11:30 am

Random cat laying in the hall looking innocent.


I have no idea where the other cat is.  Kikapu is hiding in my room pouting because the laundry hamper is empty.  And Lulu is still going in and out.


I take a break from cleaning to focus on homework.  I have a reading assignment and a one page paper based on the reading assignment that’s due at midnight.  I remind Annelise to get her piano and reading done and then head to my room to work on my schoolwork.

I get my lap top and books and stretch out on my bed.  Callie quickly sees this as an opportunity to spend quality time together.


I do a really good job of staying focused for about an hour.  And then I’m distracted by Facebook and Instagram and Postsecrets.

1:15 pm

I manage to finish the reading and start my paper.  I get about two sentences typed and then I’m distracted again.  This time researching local pools.  I’m thinking of getting a membership for the summer and I definitely need to sign Annelise up for some sort of lessons.

I can hear Annelise practicing the piano and she calls out to me to see if I want to come take a picture to document that she played today. (She’s starting to catch on to the Groundhog Day thing).


1:59 pm

I receive a text message from our guests asking if it would be okay if they came on Monday instead of Tuesday.  Sure.  No problem, except the guest room is filled with all the Christmas decorations because the attic is cold and I haven’t wanted to go in there.  It shouldn’t take to long to move everything over.

2:00 pm

Since I’m not getting my schoolwork done, I decide to take a break and focus on getting lunch ready.  Since we eat breakfast late on Sunday we also bump back lunch and call it slupper (and then we have a light snack in the evening or she eats with her sitter if I’m working).

I grab a couple of pork chops out of the freezer and toss them in the Insta-Pot and then put some potatoes in the oven.


Annelise is in her room reading.

I let her know there are several jobs to be done while lunch is cooking if she wants to earn some money.

While I work on lunch, she folds some of the laundry that is done, dusts, waters the plants and sets the table.



3:00 pm

We sit down to a meal of pork chops, potatoes, green beans, mangos, and rolls.


Lulu, worn out from being outside most of the morning passed out in the kitchen while we ate.



Annelise asks to be excused from the table and heads back into the living room where she is working on the LEGO sets she got for her birthday.  I just sit at the table for awhile.  Just chillin’ and procrastinating cleaning up the kitchen (again).


I peel myself up out of my chair and begin clearing the table.  Annelise has discovered that if she turns her iPads camera around she can make little videos of herself.


She entertains herself making little LEGO videos while I put away the food, do the dishes, continue working on the laundry (total of 5 loads today) and of course serve as a doorman for Lulu.


4:15 pm

Done in the kitchen and the last load of laundry is in the dryer.  Annelise and I set about folding the clean clothes and getting them put away.


4:45 pm

All the laundry is folded and put away.  Annelise goes back to her LEGO projects and I clean the bathroom.

5:05 pm

After finishing up in the bathroom, I call Annelise to get her bath.  She still needs help with her hair so after washing it I leave her to play (and wash) while I go back to my schoolwork.


5:30 pm

Annelise is done with her bath.  I got half my paper done while she was in there.  I help her get out and send her off to her room to get dressed and pack her bag for the sitter tonight.

Lulu is outside making a lot of noise so I yell at her to come in.  All the animals start following me around because they know it’s almost time to eat.

5:50 pm

Realize that I hadn’t confirmed with the sitter.  Quickly texted her to make sure she was back in town and planning on Annelise.

Sitter is planning on her.

6:00 pm

Climb into the shower.  At this point I’ve done five loads of laundry, washed dishes and Annelise has had a bath so I’m not sure how much hot water is left.  I try not to waste time (I still have to finish my paper).  But it feels so good to just stand in the shower.


Finish up in the bathroom and get dressed for work.  Kikapu is happy when I toss my dirty clothes in the basket.  It’s been empty all day so she hasn’t had anything to sleep on.


6:30 pm

Text the sitter and make plans to drop Annelise off at the CI since they are there watching football.

Do the rounds of putting food down for the animals and letting the dogs out for one last potty break.

Quickly throw together a lunch for Annelise for tomorrow. Gather up my work things and finally leave the house.

6:42 pm

Drop Annelise at the CI.  Literally, pulled up to the curb and had her hop out with her overnight bag.

6:50 pm

Stop at Kroger to pick up a box of pasta for Annelise’s lunch for school on Monday.

6:59 pm

Arrive at work to discover I have a 7:00 patient. I swear I had checked the schedule and there weren’t any early pediatric patients.  I drop my stuff at my work station and hustle to get my room and equipment ready.  Thankfully the patient is running late.

7:20 pm

I’m finished getting things ready.  The patient still hasn’t arrived so I start working on my studies from Friday night.

7:45 pm

Patient arrives.  I get them settled in their room.  And start to gather my supplies for the set up.

8:35 pm

Set up complete.  There were a lot of tears and we had to leave the cannula out but everything else was on.  Start study and wait for him to fall asleep so that I can put the cannula in.

8:45 pm

While I’m waiting for him to fall asleep I pull up Google Docs and finish my paper.

9:05 pm

Patient is in Stage 3 sleep so I slip in and attempt to place the cannula.  He wakes up and rips it off. Even with mom’s assistance we are unable to get it in place. We try socks on his hands and that doesn’t work.

9:30 pm

Call the medical director and request permission to use NoNos.

9:38 pm

Patient is sound asleep.

9:45 pm

Put the finishing touches on my paper and then submit it.  Start working on the ISR.

10:30 pm

Finish ISR.  Work on scoring.


11:00 pm

It’s a little earlier than I like to eat supper but I’m hungry so I get a light snack and a soda.  I have Annelise’s iPad with me so while I’m eating I watched the videos she had been working on while I was doing dishes this afternoon.

These are great…


11:30 pm

Have a brief moment of panic thinking that I didn’t submit my paper.  Go to blackboard and double check.  It’s been submitted and is waiting to be graded.

11:59 pm

Groundhog day is about over.  I still have about 8 hours left in my day.  When I get off in the morning I’ll move the Christmas decorations out of the guest room because I never got around to it today.

For previous Groundhog Days…





See ya next year! (and hopefully sooner).

Groundhog Day ’19


I can’t believe an entire year has gone by without a post.  Actually I can…  there were so many times I meant to post and it was a big year but I never got around to it and now suddenly it’s Groundhog Day again.

12:00 am

This year Groundhog Day starts at Midnight again.  I’m at work.  I don’t typically work Fridays but my schedule is all over the place now that I’m back in school.

I’m attending Jefferson College of Health Science which is currently connected to Carilion but is in the process of being bought by Radford.  But since they are Carilion currently and I’m a Carilion employee I’m only allowed one proxy card (key card) so I have both my school ID and work ID on the same clip.  On Fridays I only have a short break between classes and work and since we have to wear scrubs in our lab to go from school to work I literally just turn over my badge.

I only have one patient tonight.  I was scheduled two but my second patient didn’t show.  So I only have one pediatric patient.  And they’ve been hooked up and in bed for almost four hours now so the night seems to be dragging.

I’m working on scoring studies from last night.

12:30ish am

I have a snack.  I’ve been trying to pack food so I eat healthier and have been doing really well for several weeks now.  Tonight’s snack is apples, cheese and peppers.

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1:00 am

Still just scoring and watching my patient.

1:40 am

On my break tonight I need to take a test.  I’m taking Pathophysiology online.  That was the only option I had, but I would have preferred a more traditional class for this one.  It’s hard and basically self taught.  Today is the first exam.  We have to take it online and it’s only available from 8 am Friday until 8 am Saturday.  Which really sucks.  I have three back to back classes on Fridays with only 10 minutes in between them.  I start at 9 and get done around 4:30ish.  I have just enough time to go home repack my lunch, feed the animals and then head to work.  I won’t get out of work until 8:30 am Saturday morning.  So when exactly am I suppose to take this test?

I put on some coffee, gather my things and start my test.  I have an hour to complete it.

2:50 am

I finish with the test.  It was so much harder than I anticipated.  I was feeling pretty bad until I remembered that it’s just a regular class and not a Nursing class so it’s on a 10 point scale instead of a 7.  And according to the statistics I did better than the majority of the class.

3:00 am

The Capnographer is out in my patients room, but she’s in REM so I’m leaving it until later.

3:15 am

Go in and fix the EtCO2, wake my patient in the process but she goes right back to sleep.

3:21 am

The lab phone rings.  We all look at each other like “who’s going to be brave enough to answer it.”  I mean who calls a Sleep Lab at 3:20 in the morning.  One of my co-workers answers it and from his end of the conversation I get that they are looking for me.  I’m a little nervous, who calls on the lab line in the middle of the night?  It’s someone from another lab.  Appartently they were told to call me and have me explain the “new scoring guidelines for Cheyne-stokes.”  Huh? What new guidelines?  I eventually get that she hasn’t implemented changes that were suppose to happen in 2017.  So I briefly explain the criteria for scoring Cheyne-stokes.

3:30 am

Feeling hungry so I get my lunch and eat it at my station while I finish scoring a study I’ve been working on since midnight.

4:00 am

Finish the last study to be scored from the previous night and start on the study that I’m currently running.  This is the part of the night were I really struggle with staying awake.  I don’t want to drink more coffee so that I can sleep after work, but I really need to stay awake.

4:30 am

Go online and work on one of my assignments for Foundations of Nursing.  It’s not due until Monday, but it is an easy one to get out of the way.

5:30 am

Start to monitor my patient for signs of an arousal, because at this point if she wakes up she gets to go.  Finish up scoring my study.

5:59 am

Patient wakes up.  I go in, disconnect her.  Review the morning paperwork and take my equipment to be cleaned.

6:30 am

Finish cleaning equipment and getting it back in the room.  Enter all her information into Epic.  Finish scoring my study, generate reports and wrap things up to head home.

7:40 am

I’m done and headed home.  Decided to take a detour and drive to the site where I’ll have clinicals this week.  It will give me a rough estimate of how long it will take to get there from the lab, as I will be going straight from work to clinicals (won’t that be fun).

8:15ish am

Stop at Kroger on the way home for Cat food.  I don’t think I’ll be welcomed in the door without breakfast.

8:35 am

Home from work.  The cats and Kikapu meet me at the door.  They will follow me around making noise until I put their food down.

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Lulu has to stay in the Laundry Room during the night as I don’t trust her to roam the house when I’m not home.  She is so sweet she doesn’t make any noise, just sits and waits patiently for me to come greet her.  She also won’t go out until I give her a hug.

Lulu goes out first, but she’ll need to go out again halfway through her breakfast (it’s just how she does things).

The dogs can’t go out together.  In fact they can’t do anything together.  Kikapu just does not tolerate Lulu so I have to keep them apart.  After Lulu comes back in I take Kikapu out and she does her impression of a Ground Hog.  Unlike Pauxatauny Phil, Kikapu does she her shadow.  So does that mean Virginia is in for 6 more weeks of winter.

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I put food down for all the animals and get ready for bed while they eat.  I’ve been wearing the same scrubs since yesterday morning so it feels good to finally take them off.

9:00ish am

Kikapu is the only pet allowed in the bedroom while I sleep.  She curls up in the laundry basket and sleeps there all day.  Climbing into bed is the best feeling after being awake for almost 27 hours.  I fall asleep pretty quick.

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1:30 pm

Annelise is home.  She stays with her sitter for a little while on Saturday mornings so that I can get some sleep.  Typically I will get up when she gets home and get something done with the rest of the day, but I feel particularly exhausted today and I have a very busy week coming up so I decided to get more sleep.  I fix her a small lunch give her an iPad and climb back into bed.

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She’ll spend the afternoon watching Netflix and playing games.  Thankfully she is very responsible and I can trust her to watch out for herself.  I do leave my bedroom door open at this point, so the cats will usually come in and out and crawl all over me.

2:20ish pm

Annelise comes into my room upset that Moe ate part of her cookie.  I promise to get her another one when I get up which will be soon.

4:40 pm

Okay, it wasn’t soon.  About 4:40 I finally get out of bed.  Get Annelise her cookie.   And tell her she needs to practice her piano while I shower (I’m pretty sure she did it). Let the dogs have some outdoor time and climb in the shower.

5:00 pm

A hot shower feels so good.  I could and almost do stay in there until the water turns cold.  After my shower I climb out and since I’m in the bathroom, I clean it.  My little mantra right now is “no wasted minutes.”  I’ve been so busy I have to squeeze some of these little tasks into the few free minutes I get during the day.

As soon as I’m done cleaning the bathroom Annelise decides she has to use it and then complains about the bubbles in the toilet and the seat being wet.  This leads to a long discussion about why we clean the bathroom and bacteria.  She is rationalizing that if we just leave the bacteria alone, they will grow big enough that we could see them and once we can see them we can avoid them.  Explain that’s not quite how it works and we still need to clean even if we can’t see them.

5:30 pm

We head out for supper.

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On Saturday nights we walk to Grandin Village for supper.  Right now we rotate between the CI and Grace’s.  I just found out that there is a new restaurant coming to the Village that is farm to table and makes special hamburgers.  I am excited about it and would love to work them into our rotation but when I mentioned it to Annelise her reply was “But MOM!  What about the cows?!”  Apparently Annelise has a hard time eating cows, has no problems with chickens and pigs though.  There are a couple of other restuarants I would love to work into the rotation, like Taaza and Bethlehem II, but I know she won’t eat what they offer.

6:00ish pm

Supper at Grace’s.

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We have now reached the level of regular customer that after we are seated the waitress comes over and asks, “Cabernet and chocolate milk?”  We also don’t need to order our food, we have our “usual” (breadsticks, spaghetti for Annelise and pizza for me).  I don’t let Annelise have electronics when we’re eating out just the two of us.  I figure this is a good time for us to talk and for her to develop good dining etiquette.  She’s always quite entertaining.


6:40ish pm

Headed home from supper in the Village.  I love our little walks to and from the village.

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And I love coming home to our little house.

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There was a hockey game tonight that I had wanted to go to but Annelise hadn’t been overly excited about it and I thought for awhile we wouldn’t be able to get tickets so we made another plan, and then when I found out we could get tickets Annelise didn’t want to change our plans.  So instead of a hockey game we had a movie night when we got home from supper.

7:00ish pm

We like to have movie night in our pajamas.  So when we got home from supper I tried to get us into our pajamas as quickly as possible (for those paying attention that means I was only dressed for about 2 hours today).  We were really slow tonight and there was a lot of goofing around.

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7:30ish pm

Finally enjoying popcorn with our movie.  Tonight’s selection was a double feature.  Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving, and The Mayflower Vouyagers.

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8:40 pm

Movies are over.  Annelise gets ready for bed.  She is now totally independent in brushing, flossing, and doing a fluoride rinse.  We have been reading chapter books at bed now since last summer.  We have been working our way through the Critter Club series.  She got several for Christmas and her Birthday.

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9:15ish pm

With Annelise in bed, I also really want to go to bed.  I had the flu a coupe of weeks ago (first week of classes), and I don’t think I’ve fully got my strength back.  But I have an exam on Monday that I need to study for.  I attempt to study but am frequently interrupted…

“Lulu leave the cat alone!”

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“And that one, too.”

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“Lulu, Kikapu does not want to play with you.”

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“Sorry sweetie, I can’t play either I need to study”

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Poor Lulu.  I am giving serious thought to another young, biggish dog so that she’ll have a playmate.  But I’m concerned that it will be a lot more work and I really don’t want to have to deal with housebreaking another dog right now.

10:30 pm

I give up.  I’m too tired to stay awake.  I let the dogs out one more time, brush my teeth and climb into bed.  And that’s it for another Groundhog Day.  Hopefully I’ll find to update the blog before next year, but if not see you next year!

Other Groundhog Days

Groundhog Day ’16

Groundhog Day ’17

Groundhog Day ’18

Groundhog Day ’18

I don’t think I could have picked a more boring day to follow this year. I almost forgot about our yearly play by play.  February snuck up on me.  I still have partially written Christmas and Birthday posts that need to be published.  Maybe this will get things rolling with the blog again.

12:00 am

Once again my Groundhog’s day starts out at work.  I don’t typically work Thursday nights, but I had the opportunity to pick up an overtime shift and we could really use the money so here I am on a Thursday night working.  I had hoped it would  be an easy night, but unfortunately I had two difficult patients.  I had them both set up and lights off on the studies by 11 pm, but since then I have been up and down, and back and forth to their rooms several times.   Some studies you can just run.  These both needed me to be very diligent watching them and making adjustments.

Most nights I take my break shortly after midnight, but tonight I knew I wasn’t going to be able to slip away.  For the next couple of hours I focus on my studies, in between adjustments and trips to my patient’s rooms I some how manage to score two home sleep test.

2:00 am

By 2 am, both of my patients are asleep and relatively stable, so I take the opportunity to slip away for my break.  We have a room set aside with a couch and some exercise equipment that the techs can use for breaks.  I crash on the couch and set my alarm for a half hour.

2:30 am

After my quick nap I head back to my work station.  My patients have been restless but still mostly stable.  I need to leave on time in the morning so I need to stay on top of my scoring and paperwork.

3:00 am

I’m caught up on my staging.  My patients are settled so I start to focus on scoring.  I turn on Hulu and start watching old episodes of “er.”  One of the advantages to this job is that you can watch things on your phone.  But trust me we’re not sitting there watching TV.  Mostly you need to pick something that you don’t have to necessarily watch.  I usually pick shows I’ve seen before, or documentaries that have a lot of commentary.  But when you’re sitting and staring at this all night you need some sort of background noise. (Image pulled from internet, not one of my current patients, neither of my studies were this pretty).


I spend the next couple of hours working on my studies.  Both studies were very involved so I didn’t have a lot of down time.  That’s can make the night go fast, but also make it exhausting.

4:40 am

One of my patient wakes up and calls out.  They feels that they won’t be able to go back to sleep and wants to go.  I double check to make sure we’ve collected enough study and then go about ended the study.  I go in to disconnect them and they says that they slept better than they have in a long time.  That somewhat makes my stressful night better.

I take the used equipment down to the cleaning room and start the belts soaking than return to my work station.

5:20 am

My second patient wakes up and sits on the edge of the bed, so I call in and tell them we’re going to end the study (we typically start getting people up at 5:30, so this is close enough).  They aren’t quite as eager to get up and didn’t sleep as well as my other patient.

After disconnecting them I take the equipment to the cleaning room and set about cleaning all my equipment.

6:30 am

Both patients have left.  I’ve cleaned all my equipment and returned it to the rooms.  Now I just need to finish scoring my studies and completing the paperwork before I can go.  I would like to leave as close to 7 as possible.

7:23 am

Completing my studies took a little long than expected.  I punch out at 7:23 am and head home.  On the drive home I swear I see a snowflake hit my windshield.  Maybe snow today?

7:30 am

Arrive home. Love the short drive. Annelise stayed the night with the couple that we are living with.  She’s dressed and finishing up breakfast when I arrive home.  If we walk to school we need to leave at 7:30.  Since we still have to brush teeth and fix her hair we’ll be driving this morning.  But we still need to hurry, the late buzzer rings at 7:45 am.

7:35 am

We finish getting ready for school.  When you’re running late this is the longest two minutes ever.  I love that she has an electric tooth brush with a timer, but sometimes that two minutes seems soooo long.

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7:40 am

Finally walking out the door.

7:43 am

Made it with two minutes to spare.  There were definitely snowflakes swirling in the air at drop off.  We decided that this would be a good day to go to the coffee shop after school (something we typically do on snowy days).

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Annelise heads into school and I head home.

8:00 am

I take Kikapu out for her morning walk.  It’s chilly so I put her jacket on.  Typically we do an impersonation of the groundhog, but I promised Annelise we would wait until after school so she could be there.

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After her walk I fixed myself a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast and then went up to get ready for bed.

8:30 am

I set my alarm for 2:00 pm, and then crawl into bed and read on my phone for awhile.  I fall asleep sometime before 9 am.

1:45 pm

I wake up before my alarm goes off.  I need to leave to get Annelise by 2:10.  Waking up a little early gives me time to get a shower before heading to the school.

2:10 pm

I leave to walk up to the school.  It’s about a 10 minute walk and takes me through our neighborhood and Grandin Village.  I love walking through our little village to the school.

2:20 pm

Possibly my favorite part of the day.  Students that are “walkers” meet their parents on the playground.  Everyday as soon as she sees me she runs to give me a hug.

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If the weather is nice she’ll often play on the playground for awhile before we walk home, but today is chilly and she’s eager to get to the coffee shop.

It’s a short walk to the coffee shop.  Where we get hot chocolate and chocolate chocolate chip muffins.  We go to the coffee shop after school about once a week.  Annelise loves to play the Scrabble Jr. game that they have there.  She picks it every week.

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After our snack we continued our walk home.  It always takes awhile to get home because we have to avoid walking on cracks and occasionally stop to kick pine cones.

3:30 pm

Once we’re home we take Kikapu out to do her impersonation of a groundhog.  She definitely saw her shadow.

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Annelise took her camera out and caught it on video.  It’s very poor quality, but I thought it was cute.


After our groundhog reenactment we went inside and Annelise went upstairs to play and watch TV while I clean out her lunch box and review the notes in her communication folder.

4:00 pm (ish)

I head upstairs to the sitting room that Annelise and I have sort of taken over.  Annelise is watching Llama Llama on Netflix.  I talk with Kathy (our friend who has taken us in until we find our own place).  We got through her stash of knitting, discuss projects we’ve started and haven’t finished.

4:10 pm

Annelise sets up a puppet show in her room.  She and Kathy give me a show about puppies that get lost in the store and are rescued by the PAW Patrol.

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Then we go downstairs where there is more room so she can “dance.” (she’s pretending to be a dog).

4:45 pm

I need to start supper, so Annelise asks if she can watch Llama Llama.  I say sure and then send her upstairs telling her I’ll be right up to start Netflix.  She heads upstairs and I can hear her playing so I “forget” to go up and start Netflix.

5:10 pm

Annelise realizes that I haven’t come up to start Llama Llama so she comes down to get me.  I never started supper and spent the last 25 minutes just sitting and relaxing.  I go up and start Netflix and then head to the kitchen to start supper.

5:45 pm

I get supper on the table.  Pasta, peppers, garlic bread and apple slices.

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After supper Annelise goes back to finish watching the episode of Llama Llama that supper interrupted while I clean up from our meal.

6:30 pm

Exciting Friday night around here.  I had thought about going out, but it’s cold and not worth delaying her bedtime, so we have a game night.  One of our favorites is Hoot, Hoot, Owl.

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7:00 pm

We’re a little late getting ready for bed.  I like to have her in bed with the lights out by 7 pm, but we’re just getting ready.  After PJs, and teeth brushing we crawl into bed for a story.  Annelise has been sleeping in my bed since before Christmas.  She had been occasionally sleeping in my room when we needed her room for other guests, but around Christmas she just started sleeping there every night that I’m home.  When I asked her why she says because my bed is so cozy and we can cuddle.  I know that at 6 years old the cuddle days might not last much longer so I’m okay with it for now.  She says that when we get our own house she’ll start sleeping in her own room.

Annelise is learning to read, so at night she now reads to me.  For her birthday she got a beginner reader PAW Patrol book.

After reading, I lay down with her (another habit that we’ve started).  We chat for a little bit and then I must have fallen asleep (another bad habit).

7:45 pm

I wake up.  Thankfully I was only asleep for less than half an hour, the other night I slept for 5 hours in my clothes before waking up.  Annelise is quiet (I assume she’s asleep) so I slip out of the room.  I grab my laptop and phone thinking I’ll get this post up yet tonight and head down to the sitting room.

8:00 pm

I hear Annelise calling for me and head back to the bedroom.  She’s upset and crying.  One of her “boos” smells like sauce and its bothering her.  At supper she had accidentally got pasta sauce on it.  I had cleaned it off, but apparently the smell of pasta sauce was too much for her.  She wanted me to wash it right then and get it back to her.  I said tomorrow would have to be soon enough and if it was too bad to sleep with she’d have to use just one boo.  Thankfully “holey boo” was okay (that’s the favorite).  She was crying. I could tell she was very tired, but also very restless.  This is unusual for her.  Then I remembered the hot chocolate and double chocolate muffin.  She has had very limited caffeine.  She’s never had caffeine soda, and the most chocolate she gets is chocolate chips in cookies.  She eventually settled down and I went back to the sitting room.

8:45 pm

I check on Annelise.  She’s sound asleep.  And taking the entire bed.

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I head back to the sitting room.  I really don’t feel like doing anything.  I work on a knitting project while watching old CSI reruns.

11:30 pm

I keep drifting off.  I’ve missed most of the current episode so I decide to call it a night and head to bed.  I know that if I don’t get into bed soon, I’ll fall asleep in the chair and be there most of the night.

Another Groundhog day in the books.

For other Groundhog days…



Fall Fun

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As I look back on the pictures from our fall adventures, September seems so long ago.  It feels like so much has happened in such a short period of time.  I guess moving will do that.  For those who may not have heard we are back in Roanoke.  It wasn’t something I planned and hadn’t been pursuing.  But when I got a message back in August that a night shift position was opening up, and asking if I would be interested in coming back I had to do it.  My first reaction was actually to say No.  To stay in Michigan and on the course I had mapped out for school.  But I realized if I turned this opportunity down it might not come up again, and if I didn’t take it I could never complain about how much I didn’t like it in Michigan.

So I tried to shut out all the “what if’s” bouncing around in my head, and went for it.  It hasn’t been the smoothest move.  We’re still homeless, and staying with friends. All of our belongings are still in Michigan.  I’m not sure how long we’ll be without a place of our own.  I’ve decided that since we left and came back, this is obviously where we want to be, so I’m getting my ducks in a row to buy us a house.

My school plans are only delayed.  I start back up again next semester.  It will take me a little bit longer.  But that’s the difference between my paying for it and someone else paying for it, so I’m okay with slowing down a little.

Annelise has adjusted very well.  I was very nervous about her starting a new school part way into the year, but she is doing wonderful.  She made friends easily, and is doing great academically.   I love that I’m able to walk her to and from school everyday.

We are back in Grandin Village, about two blocks from our old house.  We love being back in the neighborhood.  When I was pregnant and while Annelise was an infant on warm days I would have the windows open and could hear the children on the playground.  As I imagined school for her, Virginia Heights was always the school in my mind.  So while we aren’t in our little house any longer, I love that she’s at that school.  In the afternoons I stop to get coffee on the way to the school and then sit on the playground while she plays with her friends.  When we walk home, we peak in all the shop windows like we use to do when she was a baby.   I’m not sure if I’ll be able to afford to buy in this neighborhood and right now there isn’t a lot on the market, but I’m trying to be patient and hoping that just the right house becomes available.  We’d love to stay.

The other big event this fall was the start of Kindergarten.  Even though she has been in “school” since she was an infant, actually starting Kindergarten felt like a big deal.  I guess this is when it starts to count.

Ever since Annelise was a baby I’ve debated how I would handle school…  public school, private school, homeschool?  In the past year I really started to feel convicted about having her in public school and decided that she would go to whichever school we were zoned for no matter which school that is (I do have one exception though but hopefully it will never be an issue).  I feel very strongly about supporting our public schools and the best way to do that is to have her in one.

I was nervous about her starting in one school and then switching to another.  I kind of felt like she was getting robbed of a “normal” Kindergarten experience, but so far everything has worked out well.  She made the transition from one school to the other very well.



We had one big trip this fall.  We traveled to New York state to attend a retreat for SMC (Single Mothers by Choice) families at a YMCA camp.   Single Mother’s by Choice is a national organization and there are several organized groups throughout the country.  I’ve never lived in an area large enough to be active in one but in some of the larger cities the groups are quite large, meet regularly and plan activities together.  The Frost Valley trip is one of those activities that mainly New York SMCs have done for several years and others have joined in one.  I had heard about the trip in the past and it sounded interesting  but I never imagined it was something we could manage.  As the plans were being made last winter there was a message in one of the groups I’m in that there were two rooms left in one of the lodges.  I had just dropped my winter class so I had some extra funds so I decided why not? and made us a reservation.

As it came time for the retreat I almost cancelled.  We were in the middle of a move, I was dealing with a lot of stress, did I really want to drive over 12 hours to a camp in the middle of nowhere, where I wouldn’t know anyone, for a weekend?  I wavered on going several times, but in the end we went and I was so glad that we did.

Annelise and I have never been around another SMC family.  And being a SMC, I’m an outsider in most mommy groups.  I can’t really relate to moms who have partners, but I’m also not a traditional single mom.   I don’t have any baby daddy drama and we aren’t a single parent family due to loss.  And no matter what mommy group I’m in I have to keep complaining to a minimum, because there is always someone who wants to throw the fact that I chose this in my face.  I thought this would be a good opportunity for both of us, for once to be among a group of people where we were “normal.”   And while there were never any conversations about our shared unique status, it was nice to be among women who when they said “I know” you know that they actually do.  And that when Annelise was off playing with friends I didn’t have to worry if the “daddy” question would come up and how she would handle it.

We both had a great time, made some new friends and tried some new things.  I wasn’t sure what I expected, but there were daily activities for us to choose from.  We did arts and crafts, archery, canoeing, horse back riding, high ropes, made apple cider and took a hay ride.  On our last night we had a fire and made s’mores.  We crammed a lot into a weekend.

Before we left for Virginia we had one more visit to Lewis Farm Market for all the fun fall activities.

Once we got settled in Roanoke we got busy getting ready for Halloween.  I missed out on the trip to the pumpkin patch (had to work) but I know Annelise had a wonderful time with Kathy and Richard (the couple we’re staying with) and she picked out a pumpkin for each of us.  Annelise had a difficult time deciding on a costume this year but eventually settled on a lion, specifically Simba from Lion King.  She was very adamant that it have a red mane.  I bought all the material and pattern to make it, but when we found one at Target I convinced her to get it.  She said that it was okay that it’s mane wasn’t red, but I knew that was important to her so I scurried at the last minute and added red yarn to make it more like Simba.  I knew it was successful when we walked up to a house and the lady asked specifically if she was Simba.  I loved trick or treating in our neighborhood.  It felt like the way Halloween should be, lots of homes were decorated and it was easy to go from house to house.

We’ve enjoyed on extended Fall being here in Roanoke.  There were still many days in October and into November where the weather was warm enough to ride bikes and run around without jackets.  We’re developing new routines and traditions.  Every Sunday we go to Sweet Donkey for cinnamon rolls, and every Wednesday we have supper at the Community Inn.  When the weather cooperates we ride bikes and play at the park.  There are several parks within biking distance of where we are staying.  We are close enough to school that we walk everyday, although I’ve discovered that the bus stop is in front of our house.  The walks to and from school our my favorite, and on days I don’t have to work we stay late and play on the playground with her new friends.  When asked what she likes most about being back in Roanoke she says it’s being able to see John Henry.  We love being near our friends again.


Our Last Pre-School Summer

While Annelise has been attending some form of “school” since she was 7 months old and we’ve always had a summer break, something felt different with Kindergarten looming at the end of this summer.  I think mostly it was just knowing that school starts to count now, and for the next 13 years our plans will be at the mercy of the public school system’s schedule.  Annelise is already starting to worry about what happens next year as she’ll most likely be attending a school that starts mid-August, and that will interfere with the County Fair.  I’ve told her that if it is that important to her I’ll take her out of school for a day or two to attend the fair (someday she’ll figure out that the Oceana County Fair is not that big a deal).

When I was a kid my summers were book-ended by the Asparagus Festival and the County Fair.  That’s basically been the case for Annelise.  We missed the Fair when she was an infant, but even when we were in Virginia our two summer trips back were during those times.  And while we’ve been living in Michigan they’ve continued to be the unofficial start and end to the summer.

I still had classes until the end of June, so our summer mostly consisted of July, and August.  Due to our many illnesses over the winter, I didn’t have any vacation time, so we were limited on trips we could take, but we made the best of it.

We took three trips, that were the highlights of our summer and then filled in the rest of the time with outings to the beach and the  park, bike rides, picnics, and hikes.  I worked really hard to get us out of the house as much as possible.  The thing I hate most about our current living situation is that we are on the upper level of an apartment building.  I know a slamming screen door is suppose to be an annoyance, but I would give just about anything to hear one as Annelise moves freely between the indoors and outdoors. She did get to spend quite a bit of time with my parents in Hart.  Typically she was there for at least two days a week while I was working and sleeping.  That at least got her out of our tiny apartment for a little bit each week.

Overall it was a wonderful summer and I think both of us are disappointed that it is coming to an end.  Annelise is excited to start school (she can’t wait to learn to read) and we’ll both be embarking on new adventures soon.

 Our Summer…

Asparagus Festival

The Asparagus Festival usually falls close to my birthday.  This year my birthday was mid week and due to work and class I didn’t even get to see Annelise on that day.  She spent the week in Hart and then I joined her for the weekend.  We celebrated my birthday with a bike ride to the Brown Bear via the rail trail, and then participated in all the usual Asparagus Festival activities, the craft fair, parade, and Fly In Breakfast.  We also enjoyed dinner and strawberry shortcake at Open Hearth.


Fourth of July

We had two opportunities to watch the fireworks.  Oceana County typically has three nights of fireworks.  In Hart on the second, Pentwater on the third, and Silver Lake on the fourth.  We went to both the Hart and Pentwater shows.  In Hart we rode our bikes to John Gurney Park.  This was Annelise’s first real night ride and she was very excited to use her lights.  We convinced Grandma and Grandpa to join us for the Pentwater fireworks on the beach, where Grandpa gave her a lesson on harbor lights.



In the spring Annelise came to me and said that she didn’t think dinosaurs were real because she can’t find any fossils.  So I decided to take her somewhere to see fossils that have already been found.  Technically a trip to the Field Museum could have been done in a day, the train leaves Grand Rapids at 6 am, and the return train leaves Chicago at 6:30 pm.  But I figured that would be too long of a day for a five year old so we turned it into an overnight trip.

Everything about this trip fell together perfectly.  I ordered a couple of new books to surprise her with on the train including Dr. Scott’s (her paleontologist hero) “You can be a Paleontologist.”  Our hotel room turned out to be a suite the size of our apartment, the weather was perfect and the museum had a temporary exhibit called Jurassic World, which was basically Jurassic Park brought to life.

We had to get up early to catch the Amtrak train out of Grand Rapids.  I let Annelise sleep in her clothes so it would be easy to get her out of bed and ready to go.  I was hoping that maybe she’d fall asleep on the train but she didn’t.  We had breakfast on the train and then read stories (she was very excited about the new Dr. Scott book) and then she watched some videos while I knit.

I love travelling by train but I was a little nervous about this trip.  This was the first time I had gone anywhere with Annelise without our vehicle.  I felt a little insecure without having control direct control of our transportation and also limited by what we could carry in our suitcases.

Once we got to Chicago, everyone was extremely friendly and helpful as I relearned how to navigate the subway system (while hauling our luggage and trying to keep track of a preschooler).  My biggest fear was that we would somehow get separated and I fully prepared Annelise for how to get help if that happened.  But we did fine and arrived at our hotel without any problems.  By the end of the weekend we were public transportation pros.

We arrived in the morning but check in wasn’t until mid-afternoon.  I went to the hotel anticipating checking our luggage before heading out into the city, but when we got to the hotel they said our room was ready.  It was so nice to be able to unload, and relax for a bit.  And our “room” was incredible.  It included a kitchen, dining area, living room, separate bedroom, and bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub.

After getting settled we walked around the city, got lunch and did some basic site seeing.  We didn’t do a lot.  Annelise was very anxious to get back to the hotel so she could swim.

After we got back to the hotel we swam in the pool.  I fixed Annelise supper of mac and cheese in the room  and then ordered room service for myself.  We went to the pool one more time and then had popcorn in our room while watching the traffic below our window.  After Annelise went to bed, I finished off the leftovers from my gourmet meal, got a drink from the hotel bar, and soaked in the tub.  It was heavenly.

The next morning we headed to the Field Museum.   As soon as we arrived, Annelise headed straight toward Sue (a T-Rex Fossil).  While we were checking out Sue a museum volunteer approached us and asked Annelise if she would like to hold some fossils.  She gave her a couple of fossils and a magnifying glass to look at them.  This could have completed our trip.  Annelise was in awe of Sue and so excited to touch real fossils.  But of course there was more to see.  After visiting Sue we went to the Evolving World Exhibit (which included a lot of cast of dinosaur fossils).  And while that was only a small fraction of the museum that was all we saw.  She really wasn’t interested in seeing anything other than dinosaurs and fossils.  I figure there will be more trips in the future and we’ll eventually branch off into other exhibits, but for now I’d follow her interests.

The Jurassic World exhibit was pretty incredible (and a little terrifying for Annelise).  I think for a little bit she truly believed that they had brought dinosaurs back to life.  Thankfully I had brought her Boos and earphones.  The earphones blocked some of the stimulation and the Boos comforted her.  There was some clinging and maybe even a little fearful crying, but we made it through.  At the end they had several interactive activities that she enjoyed.

After Jurassic World we had a late lunch and then watched a 3D documentary on the discovery of Sue.  I wasn’t sure it would hold Annelise’s attention but she said it was her favorite part.  It chronicled the steps that where taken once Sue was found, it followed very closely and used the same terminology as her Dr. Scott book, “You can be a Paleontologist.”   After the movie we went back to see Sue again.  Annelise was very fascinated with her (and her head, which is kept separate).

Our train left Chicago at 6:30, so I made sure we had plenty of time to get back to the hotel, collect our bags and get to the train station.  I again thought she would sleep on the way home, but she stayed awake until about an hour before we pulled into our station.

Overall it was a wonderful trip, and even before we were home we were making plans to go back.  We going to add the aquarium next time.  Annelise has also decided that she wants to work at the Field Museum once she is a paleontologist.


Our next trip was to Virginia for FloydFest.  My GPS gave me different directions than it usually does taking me south through Kalamazoo and then into Indiana (usually we go over to Ann Arbor and then down into Ohio).  At first I was going to just go with what we usually do, but then saw that would be fairly close to where my Grandparents use to live I decided to take a side trip and show Annelise the house my mom grew up in.  It also gave us an opportunity to visit my Grandparent and Great Grandparent’s graves.

I loved my Grandparents house and spent a lot of time there as a child.  I have so many fond memories of spending time there.  It was sold after my grandpa died, and I openly admit to stalking the new owners online.  They’ve totally redone it and it looks amazing.  I don’t think I want to see what it’s like inside.  In my mind it’s still the way it was when I would visit.

The last couple of years when we’d go back for FloydFest, we’d take extra time and spend about a week in Roanoke either before or after the Festival.  This year that didn’t happen.  Due to my lack of vacation time and commitments back in Michigan, we arrived the day before FloydFest and returned to Michigan straight from the festival.  So we had one day in Roanoke and that was it.  We had just about enough time to have coffee at our favorite coffee place, visit our favorite shops to update my fall wardrobe, visit the Star and have breakfast with a coworker.  Then it was off to FloydFest.

In all our years of going to FloydFest, I have never managed to take decent pictures.  I think it’s mainly because my phone which also functions as the camera spends most of its time off, or left in the tent.  I try to carry as little with me as possible, typically just my cup and some cash.

This year’s FloydFest was a little different.  It wasn’t roasting hot and it was rainy.  It always rains at some point, but this year it rained a lot and when it wasn’t raining it was colder than usual.  It was actually a nice break from the heat.  It seems like every year we’re just trying to find some relief.  It was nice to throw on a light jacket and feel comfortable.

This year the kids were also much more independent.  They could be trusted to play in Children’s Universe without direct parental supervision.  It was nice to be able to sit in the campsite and send them off to do their thing or to be able to go off by myself to get something or hear a band.  This was our fourth FloydFest.  I made the comment to Annelise that she’s been to almost every FloydFest since she was alive.  One morning we were walking back from the bathrooms and someone commented that it has been so nice watching the kids grow from year to year.

Upper Peninsula

Our last trip was to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  I camped in the UP when I was a kid, but haven’t been back in probably 20 years.  While we were living in Michigan there were several things I wanted to do with Annelise and one of them was a camping trip to the UP.  Since I didn’t have any vacation time, I shifted my schedule a little and we took a long weekend.  We had three days and I had three things planned for us to do.  We didn’t do any of them.  I again followed my daughter’s agenda. A laid back, no plans weekend was probably what I needed too.  Since we were so iffy on our plans I didn’t make any reservations and instead we just bought a map, picked a campground and headed that way.  We camped at the mouth of the Two Hearted River.  It was a rustic State Campground right on Lake Superior.  It was quite a ways out of the way, down dirt roads, and beyond cell coverage.  On the way up I really began to feel like we were in the middle of nowhere.  I had to drive through an area that had burned in 2012 and still looked pretty desolate.  The road was rough and at times I couldn’t go faster than 10 mph.  It felt like we were all alone, but when we got to the campground it was practically full.  Turns out its quite a popular spot.

We set up our campsite and that’s when we decided we were going to stay put instead of going out everyday.  The area was beautiful.  Annelise was immediately off on her bike.  There were several other families in the campground and it wasn’t too long before she found kids to play with.  There was a wide variety of campers.  A lot of them were there to ride ORVs on the trails in the area.  There were some solo campers that were hiking or kayaking in the area.  And some were just campers that came back year after year because they liked the area.

The first day we went back into town (an almost hour and a half trip) for a few supplies that we forgot.  On the way back we stopped at a Bear Ranch.  We had the opportunity to pet a bear cub and see the 40 bears that they have there.

We spent the rest of the time in and around the campground.  We rode bikes, hiked on the trails in the area, played on the beach, and collected rocks.  At night after supper we would play cards at the campsite until the sun would start to set.  Practically everyone in the campground would walk out to the beach to watch it.  Then Annelise and I would make s’mores, play a few more games before crawling into bed.  After reading to her, I’d usually slip back out of the tent and sit by the fire to do a little reading before turning in myself.  Our last night after it was dark I took her on a night hike.  We went back down to the beach and laid in the sand to look at the stars.  When I pointed out the big dipper, she exclaimed, “Wow, the big dipper is real!?!”  One afternoon we sat on the beach and watched a kayaker attempt to enter the mouth of the river from the lake.  This piqued Annelise’s interest in kayaking.  I didn’t make it happen on this trip, but next time we’re going to do some kayaking.  One of the things I had wanted to do was to see Pictured Rocks.  We would have had to do it from a ferry.  But since we didn’t make it, it’s still on our list of things to do, and maybe in a couple of years she’ll be able to do by kayak.

On our way home we stopped in Mackinaw City after crossing the bridge to stock up on fudge.  We had a picnic in the park near the Fort.  When I explained to her what it was she expressed an interest in seeing it.  We didn’t have time this trip, but I think in the next couple of years we may plan a Mackinaw vacation.


Those were our big vacation type trips.  The rest of our summer was filled with…

Dirt Dawgs

This was Annelise’s third summer riding with the Dirt Dawgs.  She moved up to the pedal group, which meant that I didn’t need to tag along on their rides.  Mondays became one of my favorite days of the week as she would ride with her team, I would ride by myself.  It was so nice to be back in the saddle again.

Annelise also had her first race on a pedal bike.  She wasn’t sure if she wanted to do it.  She’s not very competitive.  I told her that we were going to go and cheer on her teammates and if she decided to race she could.  She decided to race and did a great job.  She ended up finishing third.  She was so proud of herself.   She told me she was glad I signed her up and then she’d say, “Mom did you know I was the third fastest girl?”

Swimming Lessons

Annelise took swimming lessons through the YMCA this summer.  She is still in the most very introductory class.  She can float on her back, but still struggles to put her face in the water.  She’s signed up to take classes into the fall and I figure we’re going to keep doing it until she’s swimming independently.


Children’s Museums

We visited both the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and Sandcastles in Ludington.  I preferred Sandcastles, it seemed better organized and less chaotic.  But it was nice to have the option of either.  Whenever we went to Ludington we’d also go to the House of Flavors for lunch and when we were in GR we’d go to Buffalo Wild Wings.  I tried to save the museums for rainy days; fortunately we didn’t have too many of those.

Lewis Farm Market

The Farm Market is always one of our favorite summer activities.  This year we made a little goat friend.  He always seemed to be out and wondering free while we were there.  Of the all the goats there he was the only one to figure out how to escape.  Last year Annelise refused to go into the Aviary.  She didn’t like the birds.  But now that she knows that birds can be classified as dinosaurs she was very eager to go in and study them.

John Ball Zoo

There was a day at the zoo with cousins.

Beach Days

We had several beach days in Pentwater and at Kirk Park.  Annelise loved to play in the sand building castles and digging holes.

Parks and Picnics

This would definitely be the summer of picnics.  We hit up several parks, did some nature walks and took picnics every opportunity that we could.  I think one of the easiest ways for us to get outside was to ride our bikes to a park and have a picnic.  We discovered some new parks, one with some nature trails, and another with a splash pad.

County Fair

Annelise got an overdose of the Fair this year.  Typically we go on Children’s Day, but my work schedule got in the way again.  I took her on Entry Day for a preview.  She went with her aunts and cousins on children’s day while I was working and sleeping.  And then on Saturday I took her.  Since it was just the two of us I needed to go on the rides with her.  Thankfully she told me that Aunt Charity had taken her on the Ferris wheel the day before because she knew it scared me.  Repeats on the Tilt-a-whirl did a number on me and I suddenly felt very old.  She won another fish to go with the two she won last year.  We toured the barn several times. She was very into the animals this year and got attached to a particular calf named Chomper.


Tomorrow she starts Kindergarten.  We’ve spent the last official weekend of summer being lazy and just hanging around the apartment getting ready for school.  I had contemplated one more camping trip but I think we both needed some down time.  There’s barely a break before fall activities start up.  Dance begins this week, and swim lessons will resume next week.  Our next adventure will be a trip to a YMCA camp in New York to meet up with other SMC families.  We are very excited about it.  In addition to connecting with other families like ours, I’ll get to meet some friends that I’ve known for years, but never met in person, and the Catskills in early fall should be beautiful.

Two Years in…

Although our Michigan anniversary date is in June, it doesn’t feel like we’ve marked a year and started a new one until after our annual trip to FloydFest.

I’ve struggled with what to say about the past year.  It was difficult, but in a different way than our first year.  While our first year was marked mostly with being depressed and missing our life in Virginia, this past year was filled with anxiety.   I had to adjust my plans for school several times.  I completely wiped out our saving and had to return to work full time, while also keeping another part time job to make ends meet.   It felt like every time I made a plan, something would come up to block or delay it.  At some point during the year it also sank in that I’m in this alone.  There is never going to be a second income, or another retirement account.   The decisions I make about school and therefore my career and future earning potential suddenly felt very heavy.  And all this was playing out against the backdrop of the current state of our country.  Throughout the year the anxiety attacks got progressively worse, until I had one in April that was particularly crippling.  I’m now on an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication.

And because whatever forces are directing my life have a sick sense of humor, just when I thought we had settled into a course of action things are changing again and there are more decisions to make that will affect our future.  I hate making decisions.  I always feel like I make the wrong one.  Two and a half years ago I made the decision to move back to Michigan.  At the time it felt like the right decision.  There are many times this past year when I have regretted it.  I’ve tried to just accept it for what it is.  I made the best decision I could with the information I had at the time and that’s all I can do with the decisions I still have to make.

So as we’re facing another year which could involve a lot of changes or none at all, here’s a pictorial review of what Annelise did during the past year.















More of this please…

Monday night I got a full night of sleep and woke up Tuesday feeling fully rested which is rare.  We had a nice breakfast and then it was off to swimming lessons.  Annelise’s swimming lessons are at the Downtown YMCA.  She calls it the big city Y.   We typically go to a smaller one closer to our apartment.  Every week after her lesson she asks me to give her a tour.  She likes to walk up to all the different levels and have me tell her about when I use to work out there (a decade ago when I was training and racing).  We peek into the cycling and yoga studios and I tell her about the classes I took.   We always go up to the courts to see if anyone is playing basketball and then over to the track to look out the windows to see the “big city.”

After our tour we headed home.  I packed us a lunch and then we rode our bikes to the park.  We spent the rest of the morning playing soccer and frisbee.  We had a great picnic and then she played on the playground.  After school got out in the spring we had a hard time keeping her 7 pm bedtime, so I gave her a choice, keep the early bedtime or stay up later and take a nap.  Surprisingly she chose a nap.  So after our picnic in the park we rode home and took our usual afternoon nap.  I love our daily nap.

After our nap Annelise played Legos in the livingroom while I worked in the kitchen.  Now that I’m done with my class and don’t need her to be entertained while I study we’ve tried to cut back on TV time.  Tuesdays are now TV free Tuesday.  While she was playing I cleaned up the kitchen.  The house is a mess after being focused on school for the last couple of months and we established a plan to thoroughly clean one room a day until the apartment was back to normal again.  Tuesday was the kitchen.

Later we took Kikapu out for her afternoon walk.  Typically I just take her out and let her go, but since we were having a laid back day Annelise went with me and we took a walk through the complex and around the neighborhood.  She took her scooter and rode ahead of us.  She is getting more confident with her scooting ability, and got a little reckless resulting in a crash.  I could see it happen before it did.  I almost called out to her to be careful, but didn’t.  I don’t know if that was a bad parenting decision or not.  I did the same thing right before she crashed her bike a couple of weeks ago.  I had a sense of what was about to happen but rather than warn her I remained quiet.   I know I can tend to be overprotective and I think sometimes she needs less “honey please be careful” and more encouragement to push her limits and be adventurous.  Well, it resulted in a skinned knee.

After deciding that the injury was severe enough to warrant a Paw Patrol band aid, she crawled into my lap for a little comfort.  I know the days of her being able to fit in my lap and wanting to be there are limited so I’m trying to take full advantage of the times she wants to cuddle.  As I sat on the bathroom floor rocking her back and forth I told her about all the times I rocked her as a baby.  How I would feed her and then rock her in the rocking chair until she fell asleep and then just hold her while she slept and then after she’d wake up we’d just sit and rock all day.  (Seriously, that’s how I spent my maternity leave.  Sometimes if the weather was nice I’d put her in a carrier and we’d take a walk, but basically I held her the entire time.)  And then she asked if I’d rock her in the rocking chair again.  I couldn’t remember the last time we’d rocked in our rocking chair.  So we went into the living room and we rocked.  She asked if I’d read to her.  And that’s how we spent the rest of the afternoon; rocking in the rocking chair and reading all her favorite books.

I fixed us supper and because I had the night off from work and there wasn’t anywhere we needed to be I could take my time and actually fix something instead of just assembling what I could in hurry.  I was feeling so laid back I opened a bottle of wine and enjoyed a glass while I was cooking and a glass with supper.

After supper Annelise went back to playing on her own while I cleaned up the kitchen.  I had time to actually clean up and put things away properly instead of just stacking the dishes in the sink to be gotten to when I had a chance.  And then we got out the puzzles and games.  We spent the evening putting together a puzzle and then playing games.  We popped popcorn and drank orange pop.

At bedtime, we read a couple of more stories and then Annelise went to sleep and for the first time in probably two years I picked up a book that wasn’t a textbook (trying to stick to our no TV policy).  I read for a little bit, took Kikapu out one last time and then went to bed at a decent hour.

I want everyday to be like this.  I know it can’t.  I have to work and for the time being I have to also squeeze in school.  I shifted my schedule for the summer so that hopefully we can have at least one of these days a week.  Days when I’m there both when she wakes up and when she goes to bed and when there isn’t anything we have to do in between.  Days we can just enjoy being together.  Kindergarten is on the horizon.  She’s been in “school” since she was seven months old, but sending her off to Kindergarten feels different and I have a lot of anxiety about it.

And while these days of nothing are peaceful, they also mess with me psychologically.  It actually takes a lot of effort for me to do nothing.  In part because I am a workaholic (I come from a long line of workaholics), but also because I’m use to being stressed and feeling rushed and busy.  When that pressure and hurriedness isn’t there I feel a sense of anxiety and panic.  I’m pretty sure that some of the chaos of my life is of my own creation in an attempt to create an atmosphere in which I feel comfortable.  I really do love these days of doing nothing but with them comes a certain level of anxiety because it is out of my comfort zone.  I’m working on it, maybe with enough practice I’ll get good at being lazy.


Not My Holiday

It was Father’s Day today and along with all the well wishes and tributes to fathers there were several shout outs to single moms doing the job of two parents.  There were also several single moms sharing how they are celebrating being both mom and dad.  And while I appreciate the sentiment behind the well wishes, and shortly after Annelise was born I think I did refer to it as Mother’s Day the Sequel, there is no need to wish me a Happy Father’s Day.  My views on the day and how I approach parenting have evolved as I get a better understanding of what it means to raise Annelise without a dad.

I am not her dad and I am not doing the work of two parents.  I have been clear from the beginning that Annelise does not have a dad, biological or otherwise.  The person contributing her other 23 chromosomes is a donor, that is all.  Her dad is not absent, and I’m not picking up the slack his absence creates.  I’m her mother and everything I do for her is because I am her mother.  Our family is complete the way it is.  To claim this holiday for myself or take credit for doing a dad’s job is sending the message that just a mom is not enough and that our family is missing someone.

This is not to say that dads aren’t important.  If you are a dad, you are important to your children.  If you have a dad, whether present or absent, they have an impact on you.  We became a single parent family not because of a break up or abandonment, but because I chose to become a mother.  There was no loss for Annelise.  I don’t need to step up and fill in for the person who left.  I just need to be the best mom I can be.

Annelise is doing just fine without a father.   She somehow thinks she chose this and told me that having just a mom is a dream come true.  She also thinks that I didn’t get married specifically so that it could be just me and her.  I’ve always been open with her and we talk about our unique family situation and that I used a donor.  We have occasionally talked about the possibility that I might date and marry someday.   She’s not too keen on the idea and is very skeptical of any men I introduce to her.  When I’ve asked her how she feels about it she’ll say, “maybe someday, but not for right not.”  I don’t know if that will ever happen, but I do know that if she ever calls someone “dad” it will be because she is choosing to recognize that person as a father.

I know there are a lot of single moms who didn’t choose this path and they may choose to celebrate their extra effort on Father’s Day.  But for us, on Father’s Day, Annelise will celebrate her Grandpa and that is all.  I’ve got Mother’s Day, that’s enough for me.



The Winter that Wasn’t

Now that we are at the unofficial start of summer, I suppose it’s time to sum up our winter.  It didn’t exactly go as planned.  In bracing our attitude to make the best of our time here in Michigan I had planned to take full advantage of a Michigan winter.  Unfortunately Mother Nature didn’t cooperate.  We also took a hit health wise.

I had planned for a lot of playing in the snow, and we were off to a good start with a white Christmas, but it didn’t last beyond that.  Some of the things I had planned were skiing, sledding, and ice skating.  I’d also planned an overnight “camping” trip to a state park to stay in a yurt and a trip to Great Wolf Lodge.  The mild winter prohibited the winter sporting events and an extended illness for both Annelise and I cancelled our trips.

For Christmas I gave Annelise ski lessons along with all the necessary paraphernalia minus the actual skis.  Skis were provided with the lessons and if they had gone well I would have looked into getting a pair for her.  She was suppose to have five lessons.  It rained on four of the lesson days cancelling them.  They were able to give one make up lesson but that was it.  The two lessons she did have went very well, so we’ll plan to do it again next year.  I unfortunately didn’t get any skiing in.  I had hoped we could have had a couple of ski weekends but that didn’t happen.  Expense did factor into that.  At this point she could probably only handle being out there for an hour or two at a time, and the one or two days we could have gone I just couldn’t justify the expense of passes and ski rentals for both of us for that short of time period.  Next year she’ll have a season pass provided by the Dirt Dawgs so maybe if I get one for myself and we can find some inexpensive used skis we’ll get some more skiing in.  I had also hoped to get some cross country skiing in, but it seemed that any day that would have been a good day for me to go, she was home sick from school, so that didn’t happen.

Being sick was a common theme of the winter.  She came down with a fever on February 1st and it wasn’t until nearly the end of March that she was back to full health.  I try not to be a “run to the doctor asking for antibiotics for every little sniffle” type mom, but we did eventually end up there and she needed a course of antibiotics for a ruptured eardrum.  She missed a lot of school..  It seemed to be this endless cycle of fever, recovery and then fever again before she could even get back to class.  Her pediatrician said that we weren’t the only ones struggling with this.  She had several parents who were convinced their kids had autoimmune diseases because they just couldn’t shake the fever and respiratory infection cycle.  And of course whatever she gets I get.  For most of February and March I struggled with a low fever and fatigue.  I burned through all of my time off from work, which will make our summer plans difficult (right now I’m working on some creative scheduling so that we can still do everything we had planned to do).

By the time we were feeling like ourselves again the winter was over and it was time to move on to spring.  The one thing we did do over the winter was get a membership to our local YMCA.  I initially signed her up for a membership so that she could get a discount on classes.  Both her dance classes and ski classes were through them and we are also planning on swim lessons this summer.  I added a membership for myself in hopes that I would be motivated to workout while she was in dance class.  That happened a couple of times, but mostly we used our membership to access the pool.  We got into a routine of going swimming on Sunday afternoon and then picking up bread sticks on the way home.

Annelise continued with dance throughout the winter.  I really wan’t sure how she would like dance lessons but she has loved it.  I’m glad we went with lessons at the YMCA instead of a dance studio.  They seemed to be more laid back than what I’ve seen from the studios.  I personally loved watching her go into class excited, laughing and joking with her instructor and classmates.  Those wrapped up last weekend, well take a break for the summer and then hopefully more dancing in the fall.

Now that our winter is over and we’re well on our way to summer, we have other adventures planned.  We’ve started to put together our summer bucket list.  The first part of the summer I’m in class, then I’ll have two months off from school.  During that time we’ll hopefully be moving and getting settled before Annelise starts Kindergarten in the fall.