A mix of photography, recipes, personal thoughts, faith, and lots of family stuff, but not necessarily in that order.

Monday, January 16, 2017

We love this gig...

Sunday was the perfect day to grab the grands and take em sledding

Rick and I are blessed to be healthy and able to "keep up" with this energetic 7 and 4 year old!
We love being able to play with them, to be involved in their lives and love on them.

Grandpa & Grandma

I'll admit, Rick does most of the "work", while I supervise and take photo's
I will say though that I was the first one down the hill with Carson in my lap.

We chose a hill close to our house that was steep enough to really get you going,
 but not too long that it took forever to get back up!

One way of getting back up the hill  :)
These two....My heart!
Looking forward to loving-on our other two grand babies next weekend!

 Our little climber Audrey found a nearby hill and scaled it in no time. 
She put a few tokens on top to "mark" her territory.

 Horrible quality....only had my cell phone, but it doesn't mask the joy in this little boys face
Carson had a blast, he could have gone all day!

Love these two buddies

Last time down the hill....biggest kid on the bottom

Do you have any fun memories you had with your grandparents?


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The impact it had on me....

I thought about breaking this up into 2 different posts, but it needed to flow, so here it is.
 I hope you enjoy reading a little bit about my career as a nurse.

The IMPACT, not on what I may have done in my 35 years of nursing, 
but the IMPACT nursing has had on me.
Today marks 35 years of service as an RN at Mayo Clinic.
Through the years I have been impacted by many things...
Patients, Doctors, Co-workers, & Technology to name a few...
In the course of those 35 years, I have changed jobs at Mayo 6 times
Most of my career at St. Mary's hospital, 4 years at Methodist Hospital and now 
finally at Mayo herself where I hope to work a few more year until retirement.
Where Mayo meets Gonda.

As I ponder over my career I find it interesting and want to reflect on the 
IMPACT the various jobs have had on me as a person, and on my profession. 

My first Love was Cardiac!
 I found myself right out of nursing school in the Cardiac Surgical ICU. 
This was back in the early 80's when heart transplants at MAYO were a new thing.
This was also the beginning of computer charting, and pumps that ran by computer, talk about a learning curve. Looking back I'm glad I knew both ways. I actually had to figure things out in my head, like calculating a drip rate by watching each drip as it came out of the IV bag and then figuring out how many drips equalled how much drug was being given, therefore giving the correct dosage....   I also had to chart pressures & vitals every 15 minutes on a fresh cardiac post op, including,  RA, LA, CVP, blood gas analysis and so forth. Not to mention blood loss and replacement. All the while watching the Monitor for arrythmia's and keeping the patient from pulling out their 'breathing tube"....I hated when that happened. Today everything is run by computer, 
that can be good (mostly good), but sometimes bad, like when "the system" is down....UGH
IMPACT... I had to learn fast, and think big.

 My 2nd job was in the Neurosurgical ICU
I was there for 2 1/2 years.  I only left Cardiac because I had my first baby, and took 5 month off to be home with her. That was too long for them to hold my job, so I had to find another one when I came back from maternity leave.  All I can say is it was a totally differen't ICU experience. Less intense, les monitoring, essentially no codes, less stressful, opposite of what I had just experienced in the Cardiac ICU. It was just ok, I stayed there until my 2nd baby came along.
IMPACT... A new thing to learn about... the world of Neurology.

My third job was my most favorite of all, once an ER nurse, always an ER nurse.
16 years of Emergency room nursing. 

Oh the stories I could tell, but I won't, I'll spare you the gore, the heartbreak & trauma, but also the joys and the celebrations. I will tell you that being an ER nurse can make you hard, we really do have to put up with a lot (I won't go into detail ) but somedays you had to put on your game face and just get through it. It was a great place to be in my 30's, still young and able to run to Code 45's with my little black bag ( we were the only CODE team in those days), and jump up on a cart as we continued chest compressions all the way to the OR.
The adrenaline rush when we knew a big trauma was coming in, or a CODE 45 in progress, it was the team I worked with that made that job a great one. Respect and admiration for our efforts was mutual among physicians and nurses. Nobody was above nobody, we worked as a team.
IMPACT... It's here where I learned confidence, and leadership.

My 4th job,  The Recovery room.
PACU (post anesthesia care unit)
It was at this time when I broke away from my 21 years at St. Mary's hospital and moved 
downtown to the Methodist campus.
Here's where we prepped patients for surgery and then took care of them after.
I found this to be a frustrating job for the most part.  
 Most of our time involved  management of pain and nausea, it seemed to be an endless battle! 
I admire the nurses that work with patient immediately after surgery, there's never a dull moment, patients never stop coming, it's a whirlwind...
 In my opinion it is one of the most physically and mentally places to serve as a nurse.
IMPACT... I learned what "Busy" really was! Time management was my friend.

My 4th job, Interventional Radiology- Sedation nurse
Worst job in my career for many reasons, but I stuck it out for 7 year!
I will not go into detail, as it could go long, and stirs up bad memories! 
 I'm really done with it....DONE!
IMPACT... It's hard for me to find any good that came from this long 7 years in my nursing career!  Lets just leave it with this,  I loved those patients, 
 a deeper sense of empathy started to develop within my soul.

My 5th and hopefully final job as a nurse
Lumbar puncture Nurse
Some may relate more to the term, Spinal Tap. 
Yes, we the nurses perform this highly technical procedure on all outpatients at Mayo. The Minnesota Board of Nursing has given it's blessing as we are the only RN's in the U.S. to perform this task. (so my supervisor has told us) I feel privileged and humbled everyday. The folks we do this procedure on are usually not hearing good results, as most of our testing confirms those dreadful neurological diseases such as ALS, MS,  Encephalitis, & CIDP. The procedure is not as painful as most anticipate! A frequent comment by the patient following the tap is usually this... 
"Oh, wow you are really done, I didn't even feel that, it's not as bad as I had expected", 
those are beautiful words to my ears.
Sadly a few people have experienced the inexperienced....remember this is our job...this is all we do.
I recently read an article from Heathline.com that says this about Lumbar punctures...
"Entering the spinal canal with a needle requires expert knowledge of the spine's anatomy and a clear understanding of any underlying brain or spinal conditions that might increase your risk of complications from the procedure" I humbly agree!
There are exceptions, when a patient has a "difficult back", we struggle, but we usually get the job done and the patients are thankful.
In addition to the outpatients, we also trek over to St Mary's hospital in the OR, to do 
babies/children, thankfully they are sedated, it would be way too scary for them.
We also help with research, accessing that space where the spinal fluid is and then the doctors takes over to inject stem cells....crazy stuff. 
I Love this job, I only work two 10 hour days a week, there are only 7 of us, we all get along, and work well together, despite our unique personalities. Like I said earlier, I hope to finish my nursing career here, It really is a good gig.
IMPACT... This job has made me a more compassionate nurse! 
 It has built humility and strengthened my confidence in knowing that 
I am trusted to perform this highly technical procedure. 

On my way to work each morning I pray for my patients! I pray that I can give them a glimmer of hope, if even for just that short hour that they are with me. I pray that I can be a light, a reflection of Jesus face, a presence of peace in their hectic day. I hope to reassure them, listen to their stories and care for them during a time of uncertainty and fear.


Saturday, January 07, 2017

It's ok to just walk...

 I read an article today that encouraged and reminded me that walking....
yes, just walking has a lot of benefits...
I appreciate those who LOVE to exercise and get that HIGH from it.
YES, it's a real thing!
I know there are many of you out there who love to exercise and I admire you for that,
I'm even just a little bit jealous that you love so much what is so good for you.

But guys, I'm just keeping' it real here, It's not a HIGH for me.
I'm quite sure I'm speaking for others as well.
 I have never in my life experiences that HIGH!!!
That doesn't happen for everyone, even in my best body, best shape & youthful days,
I hated exercise....to the core!

I remember in my running days people used to say,
"You just have to get over that hump and then the rest of the run is a breeze,
 I NEVER (ever) got over "that hump", hated every minute of it, and never felt better afterwards.
 I will say I was glad I did it, but never felt good.

So again.... not snubbing exercise (don't be hatin') 
just trying to endorse that the low-impact, not-every-day kind of exercise is
 just fine for those who don't want to or who physically can't do the extreme

Mayo Clinic News Network

"Physical activity doesn't need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.
For example, regular brisk walking can help you:
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve your balance and coordination
The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits".
I have often been discouraged with all the hype on social media and
 on the news about the need to exercise....
crazy strenuous, high impact, diaphoretic, messy, sucking-air-kind of exercise.  UGH!
The above article (click on the purple link) reminds me that it's OK to just walk,
you don't have to put In the "exercise CD" and sweat like crazy person,
You don't have to get up at "stupid-o'clock-in-the-morning". 
You can just walk, you can make your walk what you want it to be, you can even break it up.  you can walk fast..or slow, you can even throw in a little jog if you want, but the point is....
You just need to move, Get up and move, the more you do, the greater the benefits.

The point of this posting is to encourage exercise in a way the works for YOU,
and yet not disesteem those who love exercise.

 It's OK to be the minimalist, to be that low-impact person...like me.
Yes I exercise, I belong to our healthy living center at Mayo.
 If I'm lucky I get there two times a week and supplement that with hiking,
walking the neighborhood, and walking 5 blocks twice a week to my job.

Then there's the stairs...
It's not often that I do stairs!
My knees creek and groan, surgery helped with the right knee, but all those years of pounding up and down the courts, jumping, running & sliding did a number
on my joints. (high school and college sports)
 So I have chosen to limit the stairs and be kind to my joints.

 I like this wall of words at the gym...
Balance, Longevity, Flow, Dedication, Breathe...Life is a balance

Walking into the Gym yesterday I stopped to read this......
 I stood a little more upright, and added a bounce to my step,
you see I really didn't want to exercise, I was dreading it but I knew I should.
(and my husband was going)
These words encouraged me, so off I went feeling better about my effort
 and my low-impact, work out.

Live healthy, get up and move, breath, enjoy Life!
Go ahead and lap those ones on the couch

Friday, December 30, 2016

31 of us plus 2 dogs....

Every other year on December 25th, ALL 31 of us plus two dogs come and fill-up mom and dad's single level rambler style house. The house us 4 kids grew up in. It's a big house with a good size living room, family room and 4 bedrooms, but might I add...only one bathroom, that's right 31 people, with one bathroom. Sounds crazy but it works!!! 
Ok, ok so I exaggerated a little bit, there are still 4 in diapers so 27 people and 1 bathroom. HA!
We are blessed to have our family fairly close... the furthest coming from the Twin Cities area.

I love seeing our kids and their cousins goofing off and reminiscing.
I especially love seeing the generations mix, here my niece Alex, 
is helping her 2nd cousin Carson retrieve his stocking.

Spending time with my siblings and their families is the best
My little brother Randy and his son Grant.

4 of the "Littles"
* * * * * * 
We always try to get some sort of group picture. 
 The grandchildren & great-grands is about all we can manage indoors...
 attempting to gather the original 9 plus their 8 little ones
notice the goofing off in the back row, and the rolling around of a little one in the front.
We did it!
Ages 2 months to 35
My attempt with the spouses did not turn out...everyone blurry :( 

 My sweet husband in the middle....they all wandered in and sat around him.

 Enamored by his tiny grandson.

TV room, I'm sure there's some sort of game on!

 My niece Megan (left) and nephews wife, Kate. 
My mom center, and my Big brother Rick holding his grandson Eli far Left.

My dad, my son Brice and granddaughter Scarlett 

The "gamers", playing their annual Christmas game of Catan

The day after Christmas and all through the house 
only grandma and Scarlett were awake, being quiet as a mouse.

* * * * * 
We have one more Christmas celebration tonight with Rick's side of the family 
and again... all of us will be there, 25 in all!
I love this time of year when all of our families are able to gather together, we are lucky and blessed!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The pitter-patter of little feet could be heard throughout the house...

A Christmas gathering at the Hemmer's

The running, giggling and squeals never get old for this grandma of 4.

* * * * 
Really the best present for this mama/grandma is to spend time together!
I feel blessed (and never take for granted) that our kids 
all live close, with Brice & family being the furthest at 1.5 hours away.

We enjoyed our time together Christmas night, it was relaxing and 
always fun watching the little ones open their presents
Sweet Carson, so glad to get "just what he wanted"
He can never have too many cars and trucks

"Peter Paaaaaan", 
Scarlett loved her new book as she runs across the room to me sporting her new Cinderella dress. Toddlers are so fun... this one is into fairly tales and princesses.

 Meet our brand new grand boy Lewin. 
Rick and I got lots of baby snuggles, smiles & coo's
He is the sweetest and so happy to just BE!
He is 2 months old today!

Christmas took a lot our of this little one. Time to rest on daddy!

 Smiling for mommy, and cousin Carson

Auntie Brie, and big cousin Audrey....sharing the love!

 Audrey had been really wanting a soft cozy blanket
Grandma came through  :)

Our little blessings, 
We are loving this time of our life, grand-parenting is the best gig ever.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas traditions

Many years ago... The Hemmer Family decided to do a Progressive Dinner in December! 
A fun way to sort-of bring in the holidays.
Ricks' mom always hosted Christmas Eve. 
We wanted to find another time to all get to each others homes to
  ooh and ahhh over all the festive decorations, all the while enjoying 
good food and  yummy treats. It usually goes like this....

Rick's sister Susan and her husband Denny start us out with appetizers
 They put on quite a spread, it's hard to hold back and eat light but we still have 2 more course to go.
(Audrey loves Susan's amazing appetizers)

 One of Susan's tree's, this one is so pretty and sits in her living room

 Then it's on to my SIL house for the main course, 
Julie and I usually share this main course, she volunteered this year.  
Menu has always been Chicken wild rice soup with sub sandwiches.
Julie's pretty (upstairs) tree

Then last but not least....Dessert!!!
My Daughter Brianna, offered to open up her lovely home this year.
It's fun now to see the 2nd generation get their homes involved. 
Brianna & Chris's pretty REAL tree!

At the last house (Brianna's) we have a real fun game... it's an ornament exchange.
We each bring an ornament, some are goofy, some pretty, some just so-so.
We draw numbers and begin. If you like someone else's ornament you can steal it 
instead of picking one out of the pile. This year we had an unlimited stealing rule, 
which can make the game go on and on. 

Stealing is very fun 
especially for little Carson as he steals a robot ornament from 2nd cousin Kellie.

Such a fun night, 14 of us made it this year.

The "ugly deer glass ornament", Audrey was less than thrilled. 
Her mama ended up with this one. 
The funny thing was that this ugly deer had the most steals of the night.

 Baby Leo was the youngest this year!
He was such a good boy for being up WAY past his bedtime.

The oldest... Rick's dad.
We are thankful for the years we still have with our parents

Tavis is contemplating a steal from Audrey. 

Julie likes to go from ornament to ornament and in hopes of getting the best one. 

Our (Hemmer) family is small and most of us still live in Rochester! 
This is such a blessing to have most of our family in the same town. 
Only 2 of "the kids" live out of town and rarely make it to the Progressive dinner anymore. 
We miss my nephew Ryan and his family, and my son Brice's family but traveling several hours with little ones for a late night is not easy so we understand! I know if they could.... they'd be here!
Christmas is only a few days away, then ALL of us will be together.... on BOTH sides this year,
I cant wait, safe travels sweet family, see you all soon

Do you have any fun Family Christmas traditions...please share.