Thursday, July 11, 2019

Kubota Garden

This past weekend I worked all weekend (training so I'm ready to work future weekend days). Because I would be working the weekend, I got the 3rd and 4th off. Well, I would've got the 4th off regardless, but now I'll get to bank the holiday hours and use them whenever I want in the future. Anyway. I decided that I should spend some time with the kids on the 3rd, so kept them home from camp. We slept in, ran a couple quick errands, then got lunch at Dick's. We only do that once every few years, so it's a big treat for the kids. After that we headed down to South Seattle to Kubota Garden. Gareth and visited the garden our very first summer here; I've been meaning to come back ever since, but had never made it until now.

I was a little worried Mal would be bored, but within a few minutes he declared, "This is amazing!". The boys loved getting to choose what direction we wandered in our explorations, as well as all the animals and plants we saw.

Excited to see dragonflies:

And a bunny:

The first of many bridges:

Another bridge. Mal posed this way at 4 different points along the bridge.

I took a picture of this flower, and then they decided I needed to take a picture of every flower thereafter:






Baby duckling!

Hiking up a small hill:

We found a gazebo type thing:

Mal insisted he and Gareth rotate through all the smaller rocks. Gareth was feeling a bit silly by the final rock:



Koi fish!

And turtles!

The kids were sad to leave. I promised them we'd be sure to come back again; hopefully it won't be another nine years before we make it again!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

May/June

We had a rather relaxing Memorial Day weekend, assisted by track season being over and Little League being on break for the holiday. Spent a little time outside, had nice weather, played some video games together, etc. Mal requested steak (and by steak he meant filet mignon). I was thinking more along the lines of burgers. When I went to the store the day before, I grabbed the fixings for burgers, but also checked to see what else they had on sale and got a couple pork tenderloin for a good price. The next day, both kids opted for the tenderloin, so I butterflied it, whipped up a marinade, and let it sit for a few hours before grilling. Threw together some watermelon, honeydew (it was actually good - picking out honeydew is always so hard), and broccoli to go with it.



It was delicious - butterflying made the pork look a little funny, but everyone was a fan of how the flavor was spread through the meat, even with only a few hours to sit in the marinade. Despite all the side dishes, there was only 1/3 of one tenderloin left; it's going to be rough to do dishes like this as the kids keep growing!

Ryan and I had made baked apples a few days earlier (inspired by Zelda, of course). He had the kids help him make some for dessert.




In a burst of organizing energy, I moved the shoe rack (that previously sat under the clothes, so Ryan didn't use it, which meant all his giant shoes sat in front of it, making it more difficult for me to use it) out to a more accessible point. Realized we had a basket of bike stuff sitting there (not getting much use, but very easy to get to!) and we could just swap them. Shoes are much more likely to get put away now, so I'm pretty proud of myself for this simple change.


Mal's been asking for fresh-squeezed lemonade for ages. We don't usually have enough lemons around to do that, but when he asked a few days ago I realized that we actually had a bunch from our imperfect box. 4 lemons yielded a decent amount of lemonade (they were quite juicy, so that helped) once you added some sugar and water. Kids enjoyed it over the next few days and it was a simple way to make Mal's day.


Ryan celebrated a birthday recently; we didn't do much, just went out for dinner and had German chocolate cake. He bought his own birthday gift a couple weeks before the day - a private lesson with Dave Weckl. There was no way I was going to top that, so we decided it wasn't worth trying. And he recently played at an open mic night with some friends he's been practicing with for several months now - so rewarding for him to actually perform.

Because of Snowmageddon, the kids don't get out of school until the very end of June. I'm trying to look at it positively by noting that it saves us a week of summer camp fees. But I still think how they do snow days here is dumb and that the district is even dumber for not allowing up to make them up over mid-winter or spring break. Over the next few weeks we have a lot to keep us busy though - I had my final concerts of the season this past week, we've got a graduation party for a friend's oldest to go to, and Ryan and I have our last play of the season to attend. And at some point in there we need to go berry-picking. I'm hoping July and August will slow down a bit.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Easter/School Photo

I really struggled with Easter this year. So much work, right after birthdays (that we haven't even fully celebrated yet). And I've taken on a lot of projects at work (would you actually expect anything different from me?) that I'm not working on, so I'm a little stressed about that. Throw in the kids' sports and our weekends have been a mess of late. Gareth decided we should celebrate his birthday on Easter, since weeknight celebrations have not been manageable in our house this year. Then he wanted coffee cake for Easter breakfast (but wasn't going to be around for breakfast since he was sleeping over at a friend's house, so we had it as his birthday cake after dinner instead). The day before Easter I ran to the store and grabbed a little candy and called it good at that. He wanted smoked gouda mac'n'cheese for dinner, which wasn't too much trouble except for needing to head to Costco to get the cheese. On Easter weekend.

All that to say, their Easter baskets were not very exciting this year. I'm very over doing them at all, but I know Malcolm would be disappointed if we didn't. We had nice weather, so I was able to put together an egg hunt for them, which I ended up being glad I did. We hadn't mowed the lawn yet this spring, so it was funny to watch them wade through the grass looking for eggs. Eggs that I'd worked to hide a little better this year since last year they were done in less than 5 minutes.


This egg hung out in plain site for about 20 minutes. I was standing right next to it and the kids stopped to talk with me a few times and still didn't notice it.


Gareth tried to steer away from the easier-to-find eggs, but the hardest to find ones still ended up getting left for Malcolm since they were hard for Gareth to find as well. After the hunt was over, we focused the rest of the day on Gareth.

Malcolm brought home his class photo the other day.


I commented that he didn't look very happy and he told me, "I didn't feel like making a happy face because they made me take my jacket off." The kid in front of him was wearing a jean jacket and his teacher was wearing a jacket as well, so he may have a legitimate point to be miffed about there. Regardless, it gives me a good laugh every time I see it.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Birthday and Baseball

The day I left for my conference was Malcolm's birthday, so we held our family celebration the night before. He wanted pizza, so we headed out to a neighborhood pizza place we like before returning home for ice cream and presents.

Anticipating presents:



Excited for some Little Bear books he'd asked for.



Mal has been asking for a teddy bear for a while, and my mom had these two hanging around from my childhood. The one in the forefront of the picture I made in 7th grade Home Economics and named Sassafras. The other one was a gift from my sister one year and was named Winston. Mal re-christened them Fuzzy and Foozy.

His reading has taken off pretty well this year and with that he seems to be finding more enjoyment in it, though watching movies and playing on the Switch are still his favorite activities. Walking to or from school with him is a constant stream of him talking - giving you a lecture about this or that in various video games (primarily super mario odyssey right now) or whatever else is on his mind. He is quick to tell you how much he doesn't like school though it sounds like he usually enjoys their science units. And he recently got to do an after school program called "Outdoor Wilderness", which he enjoyed. He came home a couple weeks from that asking that I add flint and steel to his wishlist so he could practice with it in the backyard - they'd practiced making fires with it in the program. He was very disappointed when I said no.

On his birthday, he had his first Little League practice. The dad who runs the little league saw us leaving the summer social last summer and asked if the kids were interested in playing. Gareth wasn't, but Mal claimed he was and excitedly asked about it for months. About a week after I signed him up (right before Christmas in one of his moments of awfulness) he changed his mind and was screaming at me for having signed him up. But he seems excited about it again now, so we'll see what he thinks at the end of the season. Ryan informed me he has zero ball or bat handling skills, which is unsurprising (as I told Ryan) given his age and the fact that we don't play ball with the kids. His first game was this weekend and, from what I observed, most of the kids are at his same level. He managed to hit the ball one pitch before they would've brought out the tee. And he was able to scoop up the ball in his mitt once as well. Thank goodness for parents who have the patience to be coaches for this kind of stuff because it definitely did not look like an easy task!



After he hit the ball he did figure out to start running toward first base. As he was running, he noticed the ball flying through the air toward him, so veered away from the base to be sure he didn't get hit. The first baseman totally managed to pick up the ball and walk back to first base before the other team's coach managed to redirect Mal to the base, but they're apparently very lenient about the rules at this age (thankfully!). Mal doesn't have much comprehension of what the bases are for or that he's supposed to touch the base in order to be safe. Eventually he made his way around to home plate, at the same time as several other kids from his team. He stood there a bit confused and asked, "Did I win?".

They had hot dogs and other snacks at the games this weekend, which was also a huge hit with him. That alone might make him want to continue playing beyond this year!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

What Is It That I Do, Exactly?

Since lots of people have asked over the past couple years what exactly a dietitian does, here's my stab at providing an answer to that question:

I spent the past two years studying nutrition, which means I took several classes studying the ins and outs of metabolism (how your body breaks down and uses various nutrients and a little bit of where things can go wrong in that process). I also took classes looking at public health nutrition, epidemiology, biostatistics, how to teach nutrition (typically focused on group settings), nutrition counseling (lots of motivational interviewing and more focused on individuals), chronic disease and nutrition, and nutrition in acute care. We had one class that brought in various speakers from different fields and focused on how we feed a growing world population and how climate change will impact that. Another was essentially a book club, reading books about different aspects of food in our society. And so on.

All of that, plus my capstone project, earned me a master's degree. But I also had to go through a 1200-hour internship to be eligible to become a registered dietitian/registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN - they mean the same thing, it's just personal preference as to which you use). The internship is to develop the skills you need to practice as an RD, complete several more assignments with each rotation, as well as introduce you to a variety of potential practice areas. Because there are a lot of places you can work when you're an RD:

  • Hospital, inpatient
  • Hospital, outpatient
  • Outpatient clinic not connected to a hospital
  • WIC (Women, Infants, Children)
  • Private practice (one-on-one counseling or maybe some group classes/sessions)
  • School dietitian
  • Long-term care/retirement community/assisted living
  • Veteran's Affairs
  • Military
  • Sports teams
  • Public Health agencies
  • Kidney centers
  • Food service - might be in a hospital or might be at other large food service operations
  • Industry - this could be anywhere from the dairy council to companies that produce tube feeding formulas
  • Home care company - these companies help people who need nutrition via tube or IV while living at home

There are probably others I'm forgetting, but the above a fairly extensive list. I didn't rotate through all of these work environments during my internship - usually I spent about 3 weeks at each site I went to. I did a community rotation at a camp for kids with type 1 diabetes and a WIC rotation. I spent 20 weeks doing inpatient and outpatient at hospitals (10 with adults, 10 pediatric - this was my chosen concentration). I also did management and food service rotations in a hospital, since I wanted to work in a hospital and our director was able to get me those rotations in that setting. Peers in my cohort spent time in dialysis (kidney) centers, eating disorder clinics, public health, schools, outpatient clinics, and private practice - you try to tailor some portions of the internship to your personal interests. After completing the degree and the internship, you have to take the RD exam (and get licensed by the state if that's something your state has) before you can practice.

What you end up doing depends a lot on the patient population you're working with. Food service management can include menu planning, waste assessments, purchasing, decisions around cafeteria layout, etc. WIC is primarily working with people who are pregnant and children under age 5. You assess growth and iron status, provide some nutrition education, and provide WIC checks for specific foods like milk, whole grains, fruits/vegetables, etc. Depending on your state and clinic location you might be able to provide referrals to a lactation consultant, social worker, or community health nurse (the WIC clinic I was at was able to provide all of these). In a hospital you could work in oncology, trauma, surgery, transplant, eating disorders, biochemical genetics (inborn errors of metabolism such as phenylketonuria or urea cycle disorder), etc. Sports dietitians work with athletes to optimize their intake for their particular athletic needs. And so on. Personally, I enjoy the hospital setting, especially working inpatient.

Finally, it's important to remember that, while dietitian is a protected term, nutritionist is not. In my opinion, if you want advice about your diet, nutrition, and especially how diet and any specific medical condition interact, you should definitely be looking for a dietitian. Once you find that, make sure they're a dietitian who specializes in your needs - because there are so many directions a dietitian can go with their career, not every dietitian will be the best fit for every person's needs.

Hopefully that helps answer some questions friends and family have had. If you have any others, feel free to ask in the comments!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Snowmageddon

We had a very rare event the past couple weeks here (as you're probably already aware if you pay any attention to weather news at all): snow.

Typical Seattle snow is a flurry here or there for an hour or two and it doesn't stick. Or you might get a light dusting that's gone in a few hours once the weather changes to rain or warms up slightly. Or, like Christmas 2017, if the kids are really lucky, you might get 3-4 inches. Enough for a snowman and a small snowball fight. And then it's gone within 24-36 hours as we return to our regularly scheduled winter rain and 40 degrees. I love this about Seattle. It's a little annoying that streets don't get salted and no one shovels their sidewalks when we get those 3-4 inches, but I also understand that mentality since what's the point when it'll be gone in a day anyway?

The past couple weeks have not been that. We got hit with some snow a couple Sundays ago. Apparently I didn't even bother to take any pictures of it because I assumed it wasn't noteworthy at first. Then the snow stuck around and temperatures dropped and it turned into ice everywhere. School was cancelled Monday and Tuesday. Everyone was so over the snow by Tuesday - why is this white stuff sticking around, making it impossible to drive our (unsalted, now icy) neighborhood streets?! Parents were already desperate to send their offspring back to school. Temperatures were still below freezing Wednesday, but they had school with a delayed start (of course, that's also our early release day, so they were in school for all of 3 hours). Thursday was a full day but then the second wave was scheduled to hit Friday - with ice and snow still sticking around from wave one, so the schools called an early release. 5 days working from home for Ryan (he was feeling under the weather on Thursday).

I went to the store Thursday evening, realizing that we would need milk and a couple other items for meals over the weekend. The store was wiped out of produce, almost all milk, bread, tortillas, and meat. There were a couple packages of chicken livers left in the meat department. I got the last box of our favorite herbal tea and some of the last milk. It felt like people had arrived at the store, saw that what they needed wasn't available anymore, and just swept a bunch of stuff at random into their basket.

At work on Friday they encouraged everyone to leave as early as possible. But the snow took a while to start sticking, so a family from Alaska that I met at the bus stop was not amused that the city was already shut down. We waited a good 40 minutes for a bus (they usually come every 10) and by the time I got home the snow was starting to stick. A less than impressive amount (but a decent amount by Seattle's usual standards) fell Friday afternoon.


It started up again late Friday night and we woke up to a significant snowfall.


We all enjoyed it for a bit over the weekend and marveled at the postal workers still delivering mail. A mail truck got stuck on our street and in the end 5 passersby were trying to help move the truck.


They eventually got it out and backed it up, allowing it to change direction. I wasn't confident that it wouldn't just get stuck further down the street, but maybe they decided to stick to main roads after that. I did some shoveling of our stairs and front walk to try to prevent buildup, because at this point we knew we were supposed to get a third round. Main roads cleared up enough by Sunday that we were able to get out to the (restocked) store and purchase our groceries for the week. I made Ryan drive though, since our neighborhood streets were not in great shape.

Because more snow was called for on Monday, school was cancelled again. Sure enough, that afternoon it started up again and dumped several more inches. The evening commute was a little nerve-wracking as it was coming down hard and for the first time ever I was a little nervous every time the bus approached an incline. We made it though, and the boys decided to play outside that evening. There was so much snow on the bushes that they couldn't support it anymore. The snow on the deck was almost up to Mal's knees.



This round ensured school was cancelled for Tuesday as well. Things warmed up a bit after Monday and we started to get some rain, but roads around all the schools weren't clear yet, so no school on Wednesday. Not surprising, given our own street was pretty much impassable still, with high mounds of packed snow covered by slushy snow. In fact, the rain and warmer temperatures just increased the possibility of ice. Today the kids finally went back to school with a delayed start. Ryan got to go back to work today, after a week and a half stuck at home. Despite the roads being more clear, it ended up being the most treacherous walk to the bus stop yet - the melting snow/slush froze over during the night on one of the streets I have to cross, so I went crashing down. No horrible injuries, just a few scrapes/cuts on my hand and a little sore through my arm for a few hours from the impact. We are beyond ready to return to our usual rainy and 40 degrees with no snow in sight. Except for the kids, especially Mal, who loved getting to miss almost two weeks of school.

At this point, that initial snowstorm two weeks ago feels like a distant memory from months ago. Which might sound overly dramatic when you live somewhere that's flat and/or gets (and therefore is prepared for) more than an inch or two of snow each year. Apparently this is a once in 50 year type event for our region and I'm hoping it stays that way!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

January

January's been a bit of a whirlwind and I keep finding myself shocked that it's almost over. M used his Christmas money from Grandma and Grandpa to buy a human body kit, and was super excited when it arrived.


The next several days were spent taking it apart and putting it back together over and over and over again.

A couple weekends ago I got a piece back from the framer, one I purchased at a community college art fair several years ago. My purchasing it seemed to make the artist's day - she said it was the first piece she'd ever sold. I was so happy when the framer and I found the mat to go with it (apparently they don't make mat in as many colors as they use to, so some pieces of art are getting difficult to find a good mat for, depending on what color paper the artist used).


I got the piece hung this last weekend, in a burst of "I'm going to be a responsible adult and accomplish things!" energy. (I even cleaned up that corner a bit after getting the picture hung.)


And, finally, I started a job last week! I'd interviewed for a per diem relief position just before Christmas and found out near the end of break that I got the job. Per diem means I'm not guaranteed a certain number of hours and relief means I'm filling in for RDs who are on vacation, sick, or otherwise out of the office; while I won't have guaranteed hours each week, from what I've observed many per diems are able to work several days a week and other RDs who've worked per diem previously have already told me to set boundaries, so I'm guessing getting sufficient hours won't be a problem. Relief can be a little scary because you have to know the basics of a lot of different services (i.e. cardiology, surgery, GI, NICU, etc.) and you aren't always on the service long enough to get to know your patients that well. But, as a new practitioner, I think it will have huge benefits in that over time I'll get to know and experience a variety of services that I didn't get to during my internship. It will help me build on what I learned in internship and create a nice, broad foundation before I narrow in on a specific service.

We are all still adjusting to our new schedule. Last Friday we had to ask a friend to pick up M from after-school care because I'd ended up needing to stay late and Ryan had to as well and Ryan's bus wasn't coming on time, so neither of us were going to make it home before the care center closed. I'm extremely grateful for the friends who help get G to and from school, since I'm definitely not around to help with that. About day 2 of me working we remembered that we had promised ourselves we'd be more consistent about kitchen cleanup each evening - when I came home to make dinner and realized dishes hadn't been cleaned up the night before and because of that I was definitely going to be late to orchestra rehearsal. We've been very consistent about it since. And the weekend had a mix of getting things like laundry and general house clean up done while also finding time to relax. Finding our new routine is going to be an adventure - frustrating at times, I'm sure, but worth it in the end.