Friday, February 27, 2009


Blaise has an entourage. They follow him where ever he goes. Sometimes willing; sometimes not.

They go on drives, bike rides, occasionally shopping, and always, ALWAYS, to bed with him.

Today, they, along with Blaise, are not very happy with me.

See, all this activity accumulates.

They needed a bath.

Blaise's faithful companions looking very unhappy after their cleaning.
Giraffe, Bear, and Dog. Yes, those are their names.
There is never any confusion about who anyone is talking about.

What to Watch...or not

I hate when I feel I have to justify myself. Because that feeling means that deep down, I know that I'm wrong.

This isn't that. This isn't a justification. This is more of an explanation.

Lately, I feel that I have been confronted by the age-old debate. Okay, it's not age-old. It's only been around since the 50s. TV or not. This conversation has been going on with my parents, my sister, some friends, some blogs, and Facebook.

Many parents feel that their homes should be television-less. Many more are going that direction.

We are not one of those families.

I feel about TV free the way I feel about vegetarianism. It's not a bad thing. It can be a really good thing. But it is not for everyone. Nor are you a less healthy person, a worse parent, or a complete drain on society if you choose to continue to watch the tube.

I did the vegetarian thing. I did the TV free thing. Both those phases of my life didn't last. And just like there are a couple meat things that I love so much that I can never go back to being a complete vegetarian (think grilled lime-cilantro chicken kabobs), there are a couple things on TV that I love too much to ever give it up (Lost, Survivor, Psych.)

Of course, moderation in all things. We don't watch an exorbitant amount of TV. Our kids pretty much only watch Saturday morning Disney cartoons (mostly so we can sleep in, just a little.) Occasionally, we watch a movie together as a family. Maybe a couple times a month. I love renting movies and watching them with a huge bowl of popcorn and a tissue. This also happens maybe a couple times a month. And there are a couple weekly shows that I just love. And refuse to give up. Refuse!

And off course sports. Sports, sports, sports. Because watching them on TV is just so much cheaper and more convenient than tickets. Not to mention local.

So yes, we are television watchers and movie lovers.

(I know that someone is saying, but what about books? Well, I always have a novel on my dresser. So does Hubster. I read to my boys every night. Both my boys love books. So we aren't exactly lacking there. But just imagine that your job is reading. Lots and lots of reading. Textbooks. Medical journals. Review articles. The LAST thing you want to do is come home after 12 hours and read some more.)

But besides the pure enjoyment factor, TV is a little more practical. What do TV less people do during elections? The Olympics? National disasters? I know that there is the computer. But computers are solitary zones, while television, by its nature is a group activity. What chances do you get to address reactions to news, talk about difficult situations that haven't come up in your childrens' lives yet.

Like it or not, we live in this world. Just a little bit of exposure is healthy. Essential.

Consider it a cultural vaccination.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Revolutionary Road

I'll be completely honest. I had never heard of this book until I saw a short "Making of the Movie" on HBO during a business trip about 2 months ago.

But ever since I heard about the movie and the basic premise, I have been wanting to read the book. (I'm a big believer of reading the book before watching the movie.)

Revolutionary Road is the story of Frank and April Wheeler. It is the story of life in the 50s, after the war. It is the story of suburban living.

But then again, it's not.

I hate when people say, "It's just as relevant now as it was then." But this is a time when it is true.

Frank and April Wheeler are a young, intelligent couple who believe that anything is possible. That greatness and importance are just around the next bend in the road. However, they allow this belief the permeate everything in their lives.

Frank doesn't see himself as another businessman. April doesn't see herself as a suburban housewife. Neither of themselves see themselves as parents. And yet, that is the life they are living.

But still, they cling to their imaginary importance and greatness and refuse to "condescend" to the current situation. They refuse to feel any connection to their work, their surroundings, or the people around them.

But this also makes it impossible for them to connect with anything else. Their children. Each other.

This book was extremely painful to read. To recognize in myself the daily discontent of current situations. To admit to the feeling that greatness is within my reach. But it also allowed myself to identify the mistakes that Frank and April were making that I was not. The profound joy of my life. The hope that instills everyday. The connection that I have with my family. All things that were missing from the Wheelers existence.

Ultimately, it is a story of profound dissapointment, betrayal, and self-induced isolation. Heart-wrenchingly real and painful; no punches pulled.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ROL, not LOL

Today is February 25. The day that rank order lists are due. (Yes that's ROL.)

The ordered list of where I would most like to drag my family off to for the next four years and complete the ritual that will turn me from awkward medical student to competent physician.

I've logged into the website many times and just looked at my list. And hoped that I have made the right decision.

For all those who were wondering, here is the list.

1. University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA
2. Oregon Health and Science University - Portland, OR
3. University of Colorado - Denver, CO
4. University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, NC
5. University of Texas Health and Science - San Antonio, TX
6. Loma Linda University - Loma Linda, CA
7. Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN

This list was a combination of my opinions of the programs, the feel I got when I was there, Keith's opinions of the dental schools, the cost of housing, and how much we felt our family would like and be able to afford living there.

Which is kind of funny. Since I had though previously that weather would play the biggest role.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Best Friend

I've realized several times that I don't talk about Keith as much as I should. After all, he really is the one who keeps me sane, makes me happy, and is the support for all the bizarre things that go on in our life.

So, I've seen this meme going around, both on Facebook and on multiple blogs. And I decided that this was a great way to introduce everyone a little bit more to quite possibly my favorite person ever.

What are your middle names?
Keith's middle name is Keith. Yeah. His first name is Louis. My middle name is Marie. Like nearly every other girl born in the early 80s.

How long have you been together?
We met 10 years ago.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
Met in September. Started dating in May. So 8 months.

Who asked who out?
He did.

How old are each of you?
He is 33. I'm 26.

Whose siblings do/ did you see the most?
Mine. Most of his live in other states.

Do you have any children together?
Yes. Two gorgeous boys.

What about pets?
We have a fish. But that's really Roman's pet. So no. Keith doesn't really want any. Although I bet I can get the boys to ask for a cat in just the right way.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
Dealing with our busy schedules. It occasionally requires someone to pick up the slack in other areas.

Did you go to the same school?
Not at all. Unless you count college. We both got our bachelor's degrees from the University of Utah.

Are you from the same home town?
No. I still like to say I'm from California. (Even though Keith says I've lived in Utah for so long, I'm not allowed to say that anymore. And he's right.) Keith is from Montana.

Who is the smartest?
Definitely Keith. I think I can sit down and study harder and longer than he can. But he is better at understanding and remembering things.

Who is the most sensitive?
I'm not sure. We're both pretty sensitive to each other. And we both have times when we're not. If crying is a sign of sensitivity, then I win.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
As a couple? Um...Olive Garden. As a family, Sweet Tomatoes. (I'm not counting fast food.)

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Bahamas last summer.

Who has the craziest exes?
I think I do.

Who has the worst temper?
Probably me.

Who does the cooking?
That would be me. I'm the only one who cooks. Although Keith does get breakfast for the boys when I have early morning clinics and such.

Who is more social?
Neither of us are extremely social. We've become hermits. But I express the wish to socialize more than he does.

Who is the neat freak?
Once again, me! Our house isn't always super clean. But I'm the one who freaks out about the dishes, and the fact that no one has vacuumed this week, and that the books are organized by size.

Who is the more stubborn?
It depends on what. I think we are both pretty stubborn about certain things.

Who hogs the bed?
Me. I don't think there's any debating this one. He likes a little space. I don't.

Who wakes up earlier?
Depends. One weekdays, we get up about the same time. He gets up earlier on Saturdays to go to work. And as Keith likes to sleep until noon on Sunday, I get up earlier on that day. Although, this will change depending on school and work schedules.

Where was your first date?
We went to see Forgotten Carols with his family. Our first date with just the two of us was to see Toy Story 2. And we have had a love of everything Pixar ever since.

Who has the bigger family?
I'm not sure that last time someone did a full head count. Counting everyone (sisters-in-law, grandchildren, etc) he does. I have one more sibling than he does.

Do you get flowers often?
No. :( Enough said.

How do you spend the holidays?
For Christmas and Thanksgiving, we switch off every year which family we spend it with. For all the other holidays, we usually spend them with my family, because they are much closer.

Who is more jealous?
Neither of us. What's to be jealous of?

How long did it take to get serious?
What's serious? Dating? We starting seriously dating after about 8 months. Engaged? We got engaged 5 months after that. Married? We got married nearly 9 months after that.

Who eats more?
Probably me. Since Keith often doesn't eat breakfast, and I can't survive without it.

Who does/ did the laundry?
I do. But if it needs to be done, and I'm really busy or not home, Keith does it. Although he carefully avoids anything that looks delicate.

Who’s better with the computer?
I use the computer for more things than he does (FB, blogging, shopping, PhotoShop.) But if anything goes wrong, I call him for back up. He can fix anything.

Who drives when you are together?
He always drives. I don't like to drive at all.

Well, that was supposed to introduce Keith to the interwebs a little bit. Unfortunately, I was the answer to most of the questions. So take it for what it is worth.

I am so lucky to be married to the only person who could put up with me and still love me as much as he does.

Now playing: White Lion - You're All I Need
via FoxyTunes

I guess it's time I grew up

Rank lists are due tomorrow.

For the rest of the world, this is the list of all the places you interviewed at and would like to go to for your residency training. Ranked 1 through whatever. I have 10 on my list.

This list then goes into a big computer and magically, the rest of your life is planned for you. (I will write more about the "Match" as the date approaches: March 19.)

Putting in my rank list means that I'm committing to going to residency. That I am concretely decided on being a doctor.

So I guess I should start acting the part.

I don't feel like a doctor.

There are days, especially days like today where I get to nap and read and blog, when I can't helping wondering if it isn't all a big mistake.

I remember thinking medical school was a bad idea when I was applying. Then, it wasn't because I realized I was committing myself to days of studying, 30+ hour shifts, and a male-dominated system. At the time, it was because I was so shy I didn't think I would make it though an interview.

I thought it was a bad idea during first year, when I realized I no longer had any say over my schedule. I had a child and babysitters and a husband to coordinate schedules with. But classes would randomly throw in afternoon or evening labs, group discussions, or workshops.

I thought it was a bad idea during third year, when I realized that even two children didn't prepare me for the exhaustion of taking call every third or fourth night. Because after you have been awake part of the night with a sick baby, no one expects you to look wonderful or create stimulating conversation the next day. On the wards, after being awake for 30 hours, I was expected to give completely coherent patient presentations and come up with amazing ideas regarding diagnosis and treatment on the spot.

As I looked into the future as a pediatric residency, I again thought that this whole thing had been the biggest mistake of my life. Here I was, exhausted, disillusioned, nearly $100,000 in debt, and the rest of my life was looking even more miserable that what I had already been through.

I thought about quitting. Everyday I wanted to. I would beg Hubster to let me quit. I begged my parents to let me quit.

And then I found anesthesiology.

Things have been better since then. I've been happier. And I've stopped asking to quit.

Even so, looking at residency with more excitement and optimism that I thought possible, I still wonder if it was a good idea.

It has nothing to do with the debt burden or the fatigue.

I feel that I gave up so much more. I realized along the way that I had lost much of my idealism, my youth, and my optimism.

And that is what makes me question it the most.

This blog was started with some hope of rediscovering that part of me I lost during the first part of my training. I still believe the optimistic, forgiving, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, hopeful girl is in there somewhere.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Birthday...To you and you and...

We have a lot of multiple birthdays in our family. My mom and my brother are a day apart. Another brother and a sister are on the same day. Actually, there are two of those events. And another one of my sister's birthday's is the day after mine. Another brother and Roman are just days apart.

I guess that's what happens when you have a big family. I mean, there are only so many days in the year.

My family


We have gotten used to combined birthday parties.

And we had another one yesterday.

Happy 25th Birthday Salem!! I can't believe you are growing up right along with me. But no matter what, I'm still older than you! You are an amazing little brother. Although I always think of you as the only big brother in the family, since you always seemed so close to the same age as me and we really shouldered through the same things as children. Thanks for being so wonderful and always having a word of encouragement and faith in people every time I feel discouraged and my sarcasm gets out of control.

Birthday Boy!

Blowing out all 25 candles
(Look at the smoke!!)

Happy 45th Birthday, Mom!! I can't believe that you are so young and that you are so grown up. I've said it before and I will say it again (and again, and again...) The older I get, the younger my mom seems. I feel that we are moving towards the same age. You are my best friend. Thanks for always having an shoulder to cry on, and ear to listen, and the patience to put up with your daughter and all her weird ideas and opinions as she slowly grows up.

Blowing out all 45 of her candles

(Oh, and for the record, you know, posterity's sake...I made my mom a cake. A real cake. From scratch. Cake, filling, and frosting. Even with Keith saying, "We could just get a box. You know, the one with the sprinkles." I made a orange zest cake with orange filling and marshmallow frosting with toasted coconut. And it tasted okay. Yeah for me!)

The cake I made! For my mom.

And then, the coconut caught on fire.

And Happy Birthday to you!

Now playing: The Beatles - Birthday
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Science Saturday

Last year for my birthday, Keith got me a family membership to the children's museum. It has been the best birthday present ever. We have been able to go almost once a month over the last year.

But it expires next month. And since we may be moving for residency, we don't know whether or not to renew our membership. So we spent Saturday taking advantage of the time we have left.

Like always, the boys enjoyed their time. And all the activities. (It wasn't as crowded as usual. I think the warmer weather kept people outside over the weekend.)

We had been there a few hours and were thinking about wrapping up and going home.

Until we found out there was a "Science Saturday" going on in the upstairs activity room.

You should have seen Roman's face light up at the words "science experiment."

We all donned goggles and then mixed chemicals and diligently recorded the results.

Keith and Blaise looking snazzy in goggles

Roman was in HEAVEN.

Roman, showing off the results of his experiment

Blaise wanted to take a nap.

Apparently, this is going to be a regular part of Saturdays at the Children's Museum. I guess we'll have to take advantage of our membership just a couple more times.

See ya next time!
(Yes, Roman can fit into the coat lockers.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Off and Running

Another sunny, slightly warmer day greeted us today.

Beautiful view of the mountains
(Although there is still a little too much snow on them)

And as we had the entire afternoon to ourselves, I decided to pull out the bicycles.

Roman took off like it hasn't been almost 5 months since he last rode his bike.

Roman is happy to be back on his wheels

Off and running

Blaise, on the other hand, is taking another step from baby to little boy.

Last summer, we put Roman's old tricycle together for Blaise. But, of course, since he was only just 2 year old, he was too little to ride it. His feet didn't even touch the ground. So we put the tricycle away, and bought him a little pedal-less scooter thing (ya know, the things really little kids ride...what are they called...anyhoo...) Well, he loved it. And could go suprisingly fast on it. But during the months of being cooped up during the winter, and in the process of being, well, being Blaise, he broke off both handles of his little boy bike.

So it was time to pull to tricycle back out. (Thank goodness it remained assembled.)

Blaise, looking very pleased with
his new, more grown up set of wheels

He loves it. Even though he refused to use the pedals today.

Okay, this picture has no point
I just thought it was funny

Turns out, he can go even faster on this one.

Even harder to keep up with now

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Little Bit of Green

Today I was walking outside with my boys. The temperature was still cold, but the sun was out, and we couldn't resist the bright sunshine.

All bundled up, crunching through some remaining snow piles, I saw the slightest mist of green on a tree at the end of our street.

It gave me hope that spring really is coming. That the cold with eventually dissolve into the blissful perfect days of spring and summer. That the drabness of winter will succumb to a brilliance of green.

A glimpse of last year's spring

And that I will get out of the mental slump that I inevitably fall into each winter.

The Scariest Thing of All

Blaise is taking the most official step there is between being a baby and being a little boy.

That's right. We have started potty training.

As a new parent, I think I was more afraid of potty training than anything else. Give me 3 am feedings, give me fevers of unknown cause, give me terrible twos and adolescence. But please, please, spare me from potty training.

As it turned out, Roman was a breeze to potty train. It could not have gone better.

Blaise is 30 months old. 2 1/2. The perfect age to start. (Especially since pediatricians recommend that potty training not be started until after the age of 27 months.)

I have been dragging my feet on getting started. I always had excuses. "I'm still in school." "I'm traveling for interviews." "I'm working on a research project." I kept telling Keith, my mom, and the daycare that I was waiting until I had more time at home and could focus on it.

But truthfully, that's not the reason. Blaise still seems so little to me. He is round, and chubby, and dimply, and giggly. He's still my baby. And I want to keep it that way as long as possible. Potty training means that he leaves the title of baby behind and joins his brother as a little boy.

But, as he kept asking to go potty, there wasn't any sense to continue to procrastinate. He's ready, so I need to become ready.

So we have started. Slowly.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Road Kill

Coming back from my brother's and sister's high school play of "Pride and Predjudice," we hit a skunk.

Just my luck. The first skunk I have seen in the wild, well, alive. And now it is road kill. Poor thing.

Our car stinks. At first we didn't smell anything. But 30 seconds later, the smell was so overpowering, my eyes watered. They say that if you get sprayed by a skunk, you should bathe in tomato juice. What if your car gets sprayed? And still stinks 4 days later? I don't know any car wash centers that offer tomato juice cycles.

This is the second animal we have hit.

We hit a deer the day after Christmas.

We hit poor Pepe le Pew the day before Valentine's.

Tell the rabbits to stay off the road around Easter.


I have always felt younger than my age.

And not in the "I have as much energy as a 10 year old and the skin of a 6 year old" type of younger.

But in a "everyone in this room seems so much older, wiser, and more put together than me" kind of way.

I get in a group of people and I feel like the kid who normally sits at the children's table in the other room who has, just this once, been allowed to sit with the grown-ups.

I don't feel like a "grown-up."


When I'm at the hospital, I feel that the interns, the residents, the attendings, and even other medical students were more experienced that I was. Not just at medicine, but at life. That their instincts and insight were better.

When I'm out socially, I feel that my friends have more interesting experiences and more maturity that I do.

Feeling like this irritates me. After all, I'm in my late 20s, not in my teens. I have two kids (who I think are turning out quite well.) I have a wonderful, incredibly successful marriage. I'm a freaking doctor!

Why do I feel younger, less experienced, less qualified than everyone else in the room?

Maybe I skipped part of my childhood. Jumping from playing house to running house too soon. I worked hard through out high school, college, and medical school. Maybe too much work and not enough play didn't give me a chance to notice myself growing up.

Childhood passed so quickly, maybe I never go the chance to feel myself move through it into adulthood.

Maybe not.

Maybe it's just all poor coping skills.

I think, next dinner party, I'll just go ahead and ask for a seat at the kids table. It's not too late.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sugar and Hearts

Valentine's Day in our house means crafts. Both the paper and the culinary kind. (And by culinary, I do mean a cake mix and pre-made frosting. Oh, and sprinkles.)

Roman assembling valentines at the kitchen table
(The center for all creativity in our house.)

Two days before, the boys and I made valentines with construction paper, paint chip mosaics, and glitter (and obvious Valentine's essential).

Roman showing off his progress on his valentine

The finished product: mosaic and glitter love notes

Blaise, although not quite up to assembling a paper mosaic, did enjoy having me cut out a stack of hearts for him and then flew his "butterflies" all over the house.

Blaise showing off his "butterfly"
(And yes, that's a bouncy ball in his mouth
and I'm perfectly aware of the choking potential.)

The day before we make cupcakes, which in this house, are almost synonymous with Valentine's Day (and St. Patrick's day, but that, obviously, calls for a different color of sprinkles.)

The perfect Valentine's cupcake (and they're delicious)

These darling cupcakes were made with paint card hearts, an idea "borrowed" from this charming blog.

And with the strawberry flavor, the pink-white-and-red color combo, and hearts, this is the perfect Valentine's treat.

Happy Valentine's. Wishing you many frosting covered kisses.

Happy Valentine's Day

Just wanted to wish everyone a sweet, sugar-and-heart filled day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

I've been wanting to read this book forever. Ever since I saw some lady in clinic years ago reading it and she was absolutely gushing about how fabulous it was.

And like most books, I read it just in time to find out they are making a movie of it.

(And not to sound, um, prudish, but because I know some of my readers, I feel that a word of warning is in place before you rush out and read the book as well. If they are truly making a movie, it would have to be rated R. For language. And for explicit, um, details. So there, don't say I didn't warn you. But now that my duty is done, let's move on...)

The premise of the book is amazing. It is technically a science fiction novel, what with the time traveling and all. But it reads like an amazingly poignant love story.

"Henry met Clare for the first time when she is 22 and he is 30. Clare met Henry when she was six and he was 40."

If that doesn't spark your curiosity, I'm not sure how to get to you.

Henry is one of the first people born with Chrono-Displacement Syndrome, a genetic disease that periodically, unpredictably, resets his genetic clock, making him travel through time.

The story is intriguing, touching, painful, and beautiful. It touches on human behaviour. If someone already knows the outcome of their actions, the result of their life, are they still free to make decisions? What is cause and effect in our life? And how sure are we?

The book wasn't as poetic and lyrical as I felt it could be. There are some parts where the author approaches brilliance in portraying daily life. But other times, I felt the writing was bogged down with details of books, music, and such that did not add to the story.

But the flaws of writing do not distract from the bittersweet story of love, dedication, and fate.

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far

Roman has a "journal" that he writes is for homework. He writes three sentences about a topic. Sometimes he chooses. Sometimes I choose. Yesterday, I had him write about Valentine's Day.

Apparently, the male attitude towards Valentine's Day starts young. Like at six.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Little Support

Yesterday, I went and did something I should have done a very, very long time ago (a little after August of 2006 actually).

I went and got a bra fitting.

Yes, I have been wearing the same bra size that I was sized for when I got married. Nearly 8 years ago. Yes, I have had two children since them. And breastfed both of them.

Things have changes just a little bit.

(Embarrassing to admit. Very. But this place is all about confessions.)

However, things aren't all bad. Yes, my rib cage is bigger. Those of you with kids can relate. You may (or may not) lose the weight, but you just can't put the ribs and hips back together again. But I gained inches in other areas. I went from a B to a C. Honestly, who can complain about that?

(Well, I had been complaining before, because I had been a C wearing a B. And that led to very, very bad things. Think: muffins.)

But now, I am completely in love with my new Body by Victoria Secret bra.

It's amazing how much better I feel.

And look.

Seriously, girls, if you haven't had a professional bra fitting, get one!

The girl who did the bra fitting was very nice. I was having trouble fitting the bra properly, and was having some "spill over" in the wrong areas. When I asked her about it, I asked, "Is this problem here just because I'm fat?" She didn't even smile. She said "No, it's because this strap is too thin. Let's get you a different one."

And she was right. Now there is nothing funny under my shirt.

Which is always a good thing.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Poll Results

Those of you who visit here regularly may have noticed the poll on the side bar. (Well, don't go looking now, it's gone.)

It contained all the places I applied to for residency. I was going to let everyone vote on where they thought I should go. (But I had to leave Utah off the list, because I know that many of you can't stand the idea of us going any where but here.)

The poll closed back in November or December.

There were plenty of options, 16 all together. Loma Linda, UC San Diego, Stanford, Oregon HSU, Denver, Iowa, Texas Southwestern, Texas San Antonio, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, North Carolina Chapel Hill, Virginia, South Carolina, Washington, Virginia Mason, and New Mexico.

The votes weren't as plentiful as the options, but the opinions were:
- Loma Linda: 2 votes
- Stanford: 1 vote
- Southwestern: 1 vote
- Vanderbilt: 1 vote
- South Carolina: 1 vote
- Washington: 1 vote

I appreciate everybody's input.

However, the reality of interviewing and my opinions about the programs didn't really match the poll results (especially since I didn't get interviews at Stanford, Washington, or Wake Forest. I also canceled interviews at Virginia, New Mexico, and Virginia Mason. So really, there were only 10 choices instead of 16.)

My finalists (in alphabetical order to not indicate any preference) are Colorado, Iowa, Loma Linda, North Carolina, Oregon, San Antonio, and Vanderbilt.

I'm waiting until rank lists are due (February 25) until I actually start talking about programs and my preferences. Just because I'm superstitious. I don't want someone for one of the programs to come across my blog and change their opinion (good or bad) of me because of something I wrote. (Although there are programs left off my list, which obviously means I'm not even considering them, which if those programs find out, I don't really care.)

So stay tuned.

(Oh, and if you want to own up to your vote and tell me why, feel free to drop a line.)

Found in the Museum

"What in me is dark, illuminate.
What is low, raise and support."

-Engraved in the wall of University of Utah Museum of Natural History's geology hall

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lights, Camera, Birthday

Yesterday, we met up with Keith's brother to celebrate our nephew Stryder's birthday. He's turning 6.

Happy Birthday, Stryder!

He is literally a ball of energy.

So his birthday was at the perfect place: Chuck E. Cheese.

We have never been there. We did walk through the front door once, took one look around and promptly left. The boys didn't complain. They didn't know what they were missing.

This time, we braved the crowds to celebrate with the boys' cousin.

After cake and presents, the kids dispersed to play games, spend tokens, and collect tickets.

Chuck E. Cheese is a casino for kids.

Lights, noise, and mirrors everywhere. And kids running everywhere. We felt claustrophobic.

We let Blaise ride the mini-carousel a couple times. And then we escaped to the Burger King down the street to let the boys play on the nearly empty play area there.

Ah, peace, and quiet, and hand sanitizer. Perfect.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Filling the Days

I'm finally settling into my new routine.

Which means that I don't feel overwhelmed and can actually start doing things that feel fun.

The last several evenings have been full of games.

We pulled the train track set out last night. Blaise is finally old enough that he doesn't spend the entire time knocking the track apart, so we can actually all play together. It also helps that he discovered Roman's motorized Polar Express train, which completely fascinates him.

Blaise watching the train
(Well, he was, and then he started to get tired.)

The boys were content to watch for a while, and then spent the rest of the time placing things in front of the train and laughing as it crashed into wooden roosters, people, and trees. At least it is safer than placing pennies on real tracks.

This night was spent is a competitive game of Twister. Which I nearly always win (only because I have a wider wingspan than Roman and Keith is one of the least flexible people I know.) We do prefer to add to the difficulty to the game by trying to remain upright when Blaise jumps on your back when you are in an awkward position.

I took the boys to the Utah Museum of Natural History. It is one of the best deals. I still have my student ID, Blaise is less than 3, so we pay $3.50 for Roman, and get hours of entertainment. We always start with the rotating exhibit downstairs (which, by the way, currently has the most amazing display of photographs about the birds of the wetlands. Worth the visit.) Then we stroll through the mineral hall and the vertebrate hall. We always finish with the paleontology hall. Can you get better than giant ground sloths, mammoths, and of course, dinosaurs?

Roman is the best person to go to museums with. We've go the the museum a couple of times a year, and every time, he is just as excited as the last time. He wants to look at everything, have me read nearly every plaque, and examine every detail. And every once and a while, he will give a little happy squeak and say, "Museums are awesome." I tried to bypass the Native American anthropology hall and he almost cried. (There is also a fabulous "Bugs Alive" exhibit which I also highly recommend. Roman wouldn't get with in three feet of any of the bug containers. But that is what he has talked about the most.)

Blaise was also good. He didn't climb in to any exhibits, lick any windows, or fall into crevices behind exhibits (yes, I speak from experience.)

Now I need to come up with more family friendly activities. For days and nights.

I think I could get used to this.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


This post necessitates another confession.

I love memes. I will pretty much do any one that gets sent to me by e-mail. Or any survey. I have been a part of the "25 random things about me" activity on Facebook. I'm not sure why. I think it mostly because I get hopeful that other people will do them as well, and then I get to read their responses. Which I like, more that doing the meme.

I have wasted a lot of time doing them by e-mail and on Facebook. So far, they haven't touched my blogs.

Until now.

See, I've been in kind of a writing rut. I've just been reading Jane Austen and watching cooking shows and building block towers with my boys and not much else. I've scribbled down some notes in the small notebook that is always in my purse, but nothing inspiring. So I'm hopeful that writing anything, even a meme, will help jump start some creativity.

I first came across this one on my truly favorite blog. The ABC game. The blog author assigns people who leave comments a letter of the alphabet. And then you make a list of 10 things you love that start with that letter.

My letter was E.

Here is my list.

1. Edward Cullen: Let me just get this one out of the way. It almost seems too easy. Edward is by far my biggest literary crush. I've had others, but nothing like this (I know, that is what all the girls say.) He's got looks, money, chivalry, and immortality. He could also kill you. But, really, that's trivial. (So, now I sigh loudly, and move on.)

2. E-mail: I haven't written a real letter to someone in the longest time (well, asides from thank you letters from my residency interviews, but that doesn't really count.) E-mail is cheaper (it's free!), I don't have to worry about my handwriting, and spell check (one that isn't my husband looking over my shoulder saying, "I don't think that's how you spell that.") is included. I do still send birthday and Christmas cards the old-fashioned way. But not letters. And everyday, it is exciting to open one of my three e-mail accounts and see who has "written" to me today.

3. Entertainment:
Meaning movies. And TV. I love movies. Before we had kids, my husband and I went out to the movies all the time. And then, when the people around us started giving us dirty looks because of crying babies, we rented. We don't rent as much as we used to, but I still love movies. Especially those with happy endings.

4. Education:
Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about education. After all, I have spent 21 years of my life so far getting one. I feel that everyone deserves the best and should have the support system in place to help them succeed. And no, I don't think that everyone needs to go to college. Just practically everyone. I think about how much I knew after high school and think about people entering the rest of their life with that frame of mind and it scares me. Education isn't just about books and experiments, it's about teaching someone how to think for themselves, analyze new ideas that come their way, and sort out truth from the clutter we are bombarded with. I especially feel that in these times, nothing gives you job security, life security, like a good education. Okay, I'll get down off my soap box.

5. English Authors: Austen, Bronte, Dickens. I love classical English literature. The characters are intriguing, the plots emotional. And the social commentary running through them all speaks to me. These are the books that I keep coming back to. (I love Russian and American authors too, but maybe just a little less.)

6. Exploring: I love to travel. And after making a comment like that, people always ask, "So where have you been." To which I have to say, "NO where!" That's not exactly true. I've been to Vancouver Island, all over the West Coast, to nearly every national park west of the Rockies, to Washington DC, Florida, the Bahamas. But I haven't even touched the list of places I really want to go. Virgin Islands, Venice, The Great Wall of China, Kenya. It's mostly been a financing issue. But my parents installed in me when I was very young a love of always needing to find out what is just around that bend in the road.

7. Espresso Machine: When I first started medical school, my husband because sure that I was personally financing Starbuck's growth. After all, nearly $4/cup, daily (if not more) can really add up quick. So, during my second year, he bought me an espresso machine. Which I use to make my girly vanilla cappuccinos or caramel lattes. I can have my daily influx of caffeine with nearly none of the financial guilt. I'm sure the machine paid for itself within three months.

8. Elvis:
I confess, I do. Although I am more of a fan of early Elvis, when he was in black, with his well-groomed hair, and not so much a fan of late Elvis, with a paunch, and tight white leather and rhinestones, and sweaty chest hair. If I had been a teenager when young Elvis performed, I would have been screaming like every other girl. There is something about his voice that is the silkiest, richest voice ever. Everything is romantic when Elvis sings it.

9. Emily Dickinson: She is my absolute favorite poet. When I was in high school, I tried to write like she did. I would read her for comfort, for peace, for inspiration. Maybe that is what I should be doing now.

10. End of the day:
Our days are hectic. I roll out of bed and hit the ground running. Both my husband and I usually have very demanding schedules. Add two small boys with schedules and needs of their own and things can really get crazy. But after all the craziness, after teeth-brushing, and story-reading, and song-singing, and one-more-time-bedtime-kisses, the house is quiet (and even miraculously, sometimes, clean-ish). Everything that needs to be done is done. Then I can curl up with my book, or on the couch with my husband. We may talk, or watch a movie, and just enjoy being together. There is just us.

So that is my ten. It was surprisingly hard (I came up with a list of ten "E" things that I hated much easier than a list of things I liked: 1. E. Coli, 2. Ear Infections, 3. Engine Troubles, 4. Eczema, 5. Economy at the moment, 6. Ear wigs, 7. Elections, 8. Energy bars, 9. Emergency Room, 10. English measurements (can we please use the metric system!!)).

So, if you have a secret fondness for memes and want to play along, just leave a comment and I will assign you a letter. Although, you will have to check back on the comments to find your letter, since that is where I will post it. You can write on your blog, or on Facebook. Let me know where, and I will find it and read it.

Because, really, that is my favorite part.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Slowing Down

My schedule has changed dramatically.

I don't have classes anymore. I'm finished traveling. I won't have any overnight call until (hopefully) July. I have a small research project that consists of chart review and data entry.

But for the most part, I'm home.

Things haven't been like this for 2 1/2 years.

The boys still go to daycare 3 days a week, so that I can have time to do my research (and run errands, and catch up on some much neglected projects). But in the afternoons, we are all home together.

And Thursdays and Fridays during the day, it is just Blaise and me. The last time it was just Blaise and me was when he was 5 months old, and Roman when to preschool for 2 hours 3 times a week.

Blaise by himself is a completely different child. He is still silly, and spunky, and likes to lug ALL of his toy boxes into the middles of the living room and dump them out. He still likes to see if he can get away with drawing on the side of the bookshelves.

But he is quieter, softer, snuggly-er.

On our last day home together, the sun was coming in the patio window, and looking amazingly inviting. I took a blanket, and pillow, and my book, and laid on the living room floor in the sun. Just so cozy and relaxing.

Blaise was playing with the train tracks a few feet away.

As I'm reading, I suddenly notice Blaise standing over me. He has gotten his blanket out of his crib. He lays it over me, pats my shoulder, and say, "It's okay, Mommy. Take a nap."

I love this time together, just us.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Finding Out

Every parent has thought it.

"Why didn't anyone tell me?!!"

It can be about anything.

For me, it pretty much started a week after I found out I was pregnant with my first. I had seen my mom be horrifically sick throughout her pregnancies. But I went into my first with enough naivety and optimism that it never crossed my mind that I too could be sick enough to not want people to talk about food around me.

On a nearly minutely basis I would wail, "Oh, why didn't anyone tell me how bad it would be?"

I said the same thing about the weight gain, the stretch marks, the ankle swelling, and the inability to sleep.

My mom would only say one thing. "Well, if I told you, would you have ever wanted to have kids?"

Parenthood is pretty much the same way. The crying, the (not)sleeping, the teething, potty-training, terrible twos, sibling rivalry.

Parents who've been through it just smile sympathetically at you as you stand over your child, who is face down and bawling on the floor of the cereal isle.

And we think, "Why didn't anyone tell me?"

But thinking back, everyone did. Okay, no one took me aside, sat me down, and said "Look, this is how it is." (Maybe someone did that for you.) But there were the "Oh, just wait until's." The "Enjoy it while it lasts's." Any many other subtle hints about the difficulties ahead.

On the same note, no one ever tells you about the wonderful moments either.

The first time you feel your baby kick against the inside of your stomach. The bliss of reaching out your arms to hold your world just after he is born. The first smile, the first word, the silly games that he only plays with me. The happy twinge when they say "I love you and you are the best mom ever." The silly words and phrases. The signs of intelligence that make us sure that our child is a prodigy (admit it, we have all had that moment.)

And I think that we don't want anyone to tell us. Good or bad.

Having learned the ups and downs for ourselves makes us feel more proud of both surviving and enjoying. That we are navigating the oceans of parenthood by ourselves. We don't want to think of the difficulties as just run-of-the-mill. We don't want to think of the cute phrases and amazing landmarks as "typical" or "expected." We take pride in our work as parents.

And we want to take all the credit for the outcome.


We haven't been sledding in a very long time.

That's because the last time we went, Roman sat by the car and cried the entire time. Okay, he was three or four, and didn't like anything cold, or wet, or fast. So obviously, sledding wasn't going to be right up his alley. But we tried. And then never went back.

Until Friday.

No matter how much I dislike winter, I can't stand being coped up inside. So I arranged to meet up with my mom and take my boys and her girls sledding.

We bundled them up as much as we could. And then we chose a nice, small hill.

I took Roman down once with me. And then he agreed to go with my little sister.

Galilee (my little sister) and Roman,
about to set off on their first run of the day

There they go!

After we got the inner-tube pumped up, he agreed once again to try it out with me. And then, to my amazement, he spent the rest of the time there, sledding down the hill on the inner-tube. By himself!

The look of a brave six-year-old

And then the look of happiness!

And every time Roman got to the bottom, he would jump up off the inner-tube, stick his arms in the air, and yell at the top of his lungs, "That was totally wicked!!." Every time.

I took Blaise down, and like expected he laughed the whole way down. At the bottom he immediately wanted to go again. However, one more ride down the hill, and he was done.

Like I said, he was done.
(My mom thinks I'm mean for taking and posting
pictures like this.
I think they're funny.
What do you think?)

Since he is only two, we can still "make" him go down. Which we did. I mean, I can't just leave him up there at the top of the hill by himself.

Blaise, getting a ride back up the hill with Grandma

When the sun set, it was time to go home. Blaise was crying and Roman was laughing.

And today, they both think they had a wonderful time.