Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Good Weekend

Isn't there some saying about dreading something only makes it come faster? There has to be, because it certainly is true.

My internal medicine inpatient month starts tomorrow. I'll save you a bunch of cliched similes about how excited I am about this.

Although maybe many of you are right, and it won't be as bad as I'm dreading. After all, I just found out that I only have 3 nights of call all month! Yeah for 28 day months!

It's a good thing that I had such a great weekend.

While I kept hearing about snowstorms on the East coast, the weekend here was clear, sunny, and, well, cold. We just got our heating bill which testifies to exactly how cold it has been. Hubster opened it while driving, and nearly drove off the road. New bill opening in the car.

Friday night, we took the boys ice skating. After the huge success we had skiing, everyone was feeling up to new activities. We laced up the ice skates and let the boys teeter around next to the benches for a while. They were delighted about how well they could stand on the skates.

And then we got onto the ice.

And the fun ended.

Bug was so convinced he was going to fall, and then apparently die, that he didn't once relax his death grip on my hand. If he didn't feel he was adequately constricting the blood supply to my fingers, he would scream and lunge for the railing. We made it a quarter of the way around the rink before he was in full terror mode. He was crying and saying this was the worst thing we had ever done. He hadn't fallen once. I even pointed out all the other kids who were falling right and left without any apparent long term damage. Neither of those facts comforted him. He wanted off that ice. NOW!

By this time, Hubster and Monkey had been around the rink once and came to stop by us. Hubster offered to trade children, which he did with a smirk.

Turns out Monkey, while not terrified of the ice, insisted on skating only between our legs and only with our arms under his. Which meant horrific back spasms half way around the rink for me.

Sound fun? I thought not. Which is why, 20 minutes later, when I'd given up all hope regarding our "fun family evening" and suggested we leave, and the boys started crying and asking for just one more time around the rink, I looked around to see which alternate universe I'd been sucked into. But insist they did, and give in we did, and went around one more time.

We then went home, Hubster and I with aching backs and numb hands, and Bug and Monkey talking about how much fun the whole thing had been.

Hubster spent Saturday volunteering at Habitat for Humanity. We took advantage of the mommy-boy time by checking out the local library. First, both boys were re-instructed about "library voices." We then went to the front desk and filled out the forms for library cards. Bug is now the proud owner of his very first library card! We were then directed to the children's section of the library.

We turned the corner into the children's section and you could almost hear the boys' jaws drop. Closed off from the rest of the library were rows upon rows of children's books, separated by play stations filled with toy dishes, bead mazes, rocking horses, and puppets. The entire section was full of children, who were definitely not using library voices.

We walked to find some new Mo Willem books, past chairs filled by parents, reading to lapfulls of children, past television centers where children were watching all sorts of movies with headphones. There was even a "secret" way in via a slide. Bug's and Monkey's eyes kept getting bigger and bigger, as did their smiles.

Our library back in Utah had three, maybe four rows of children's books, but no where to read them. This place was light, colorful, and busy. And fun.

We left with huge stacks of books, which we then spent the rest of the afternoon reading, while snacking on Rice Crispy treats.

And today wasn't a quiet, stay at home day either. Monkey slept dry for 5 nights last week. And if that doesn't deserve a celebration, complete with going out for ice cream, I don't know what does.

And now, we are settling down to Wii Bowling in front of our fireplace, eating white chocolate popcorn. (Yes, I know. Between that and the Rice Crispy treats, the ice cream, and the baked apple French toast I made for breakfast, I can say good-bye to that 2 pound weight loss.)

So even if everyone is wrong, and inpatient wards are just as bad as I've built them up to be in my mind, at least I had an amazing weekend before hand. And at least when this month is over, so will be February, and spring will be right around the corner.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Baby Steps

I've spent the last week at work trying to restrain myself from either banging my head against something hard or stabbing myself in the eye with something sharp.

This rotation is just not my speed.

I haven't felt this bored (and belittled) since my Dermatology rotation in medical school.

At least I have an amazing weekend planned. I can't wait to share it with you. Especially since it may be my last weekend of intern year. As in the very last time I have two days in a row off. At least until my next vacation at the end of June.

I decided the best way to keep my hands away from sharp instruments is to join in with Karen and Jennee in seeing how I'm doing on my resolutions. It's the end of a week, and nearly the end of a month, so it works on all fronts.

My 2010 To-Do List

-Lose 5 pounds by May 1st, then another 5 pounds by September 1st.
I've been working out one hour on Wii Fit Plus nearly every day. At first, I was doing really well, but all my munching during board study and eating out during vacation set me back. But I'm down 2 pounds since the first of the year. Even if it means I'm hungry a great deal of the time.

-Be able to touch my toes.
Still can't quite do this. But I'm focusing on Yoga poses on Wii Fit that work on flexibility. And I'm getting closer. I can do it if I "bounce" just a little. But that doesn't count.

-Get my passport.

-Date night with Hubster once a month.
I'm going to guess that catching up on The Office every night doesn't really count. And the family ski trip doesn't really count either. And neither will our family activity tonight. So I'm going with no. We did not have a date night this month.

-Pass the boards the first time.
Boards have been taken. Still waiting to see if I passed.

-Use my crock pot (at least) once a month.
Done for January. I made barbeque chicken. It was very good.

-Finish moving in.
Haven't touched a single box in the garage. But Hubster finally took the suitcases (that we used when we moved here!) out of his closet and put them in the basement. So we've made a small step in that regard.

-Finish moving into this blog.
I've been moving in slowly. I figured out how to do a three column format, which made me do a celebration happy dance in our office. I found a background I really love. (Don't you just love the look of weathered wood?) I'm slowly adding side bar items. I'm working on it. I really want a blog make over. Maybe for my birthday?


So, overall, no big successes. But enough small successes that I feel I'm doing okay. Even if everytime I look outside and there is still snow, I just want to curl up under a blanket with a bag of marshmallows and not come back out until it is warm.

And if you have any tried and true crock pot recipes that might tempt a picky eater who doesn't eat red foods, please send them my direction.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

At least now I know better

Last night at dinner, Bug said something about "salmon skiing." We were confused for a moment, and then realized he meant "slalom." We had a good laugh, especially as I remembered I had thought the same thing as a kid.

It got me thinking about other misperceptions I had as a child. Obviously, there are a lot. We all have them. Many of them are just based on a blissful ignorance of the world.

But a couple have stuck with me, just because of how silly they seem now.

When I was little, I used to ask my mom what my name was going to be when I grew up. Katherine seemed like a little girl name. I didn't know any grown ups named Katherine. I was convinced that when I grew up, I was going to get a proper, suitable adult name. Like Kimberly.

Just like my boys do now, I remember getting into bed with my parents. And when my dad was out of town, it was the biggest treat to actually be invited to sleep in my mom's bed. But she would always joke about how much we moved around at night. This translated in my mind that grown ups must sleep very still. I used to practice lying in bed at night, on my back, with my arms and legs straight. Not moving. Of course, I never woke up in this still, stiff position. But I kept practicing. There was no way I was going to bother my future husband with my moving around at night.

When I was about 7, the most wonderful thing in the world was to grow up and be a teacher. And in my mind, from having a literary diet heavy on Laura Ingalls and Anne of Green Gables, I was sure there was nothing more wonderful than teaching in a one room school house. Little did I know I was at least a century too late for that.

But at that time, I was pretty sure we would have flying cars by the year 2010, as well.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

No Bed of Roses

Confession Wednesday Button
(Confession Wednesday brought to you by Karen)

I have a presentation tomorrow. Which meant, although I was sick at home with the worst migraine I've had in years, I spent my afternoon researching radiographic evidence of pneumomediastinum. I couldn't make it up if I tried.

Between this, and the fact that I start internal medicine wards on Monday, I'm not really liking my job right now.

It can be very satisfying. And it pays the bills.

And it is not the worst job I have had.

That honor goes to to the time I worked taking orders at a flower shop.

Let me set the stage. I was still in college, and pregnant with Bug. We lived in the tiniest apartment known to man (the refrigerator door nearly hit the opposite counter when you opened it.) Money was tight and with Bug due in a few months, it was about to get tighter. Hubster had just barely left his construction job to start at a dental product company. Since he was new at the job, he was getting paid entry level. A raise was months away. So, despite the fact we didn't want it to happen, I needed to take on a part time job. It needed to be flexible because of my class schedule. It needed to be close by (because I didn't have a car.)

It was about this time that Hubster's aunt mentioned she worked at a flower shop close to where I lived and I should work there with her.

Now, I had in my mind a very romantic view of flowers. Let's blame it on Bed of Roses. It's always been a very small daydream of mine to own a flower shop. So I jumped at the opportunity.

Right away, I could tell the owner and I were not, well, kindred spirits. He said, "First thing you need to know. The customer is NOT always right. In fact, they are usually always wrong. Keep that in mind when you deal with complaints." Great.

He said, because I was going to work taking orders, I would be paid straight commission. No hourly base rate. He said most people earned so much this way, it didn't matter there wasn't a base rate.

I started the week of Valentine's Day. To say it was busy was an understatement. I was on the phone non-stop. And then, Valentine's Day passed, and it was slow. I spent time between calls studying calculus and battling morning sickness.

And avoiding my co-workers. Hubster's aunt was always trying to get me to go to the bar across the street for lunch with her for a couple of drinks. Hey, I'm pregnant over here.

The lady with the desk across from mine talked about all the jobs she been fired from because she kept sleeping with people. And then, a couple of weeks later, she called her husband to ask if he would take down the inflatable Santa and plastic candy canes out of their yard. It was March.

And my boss? Well, he didn't grow on me. I always answered the phone, "A-- Flowers, your FTD associated florist. How may I help you?" My boss didn't like this. He put a memo, a typed memo, in every one's boxes that said

Some employees have been overheard to answer the phone, "A-- Flowers, your FTD associated florist. How may I help you?" This is incorrect. The correct way to answer the phone is. "A-- Flowers. How may I help you at your florist associated with FTD?"

Huh? How is that better? How does that make sense?

And he couldn't just tell me he didn't like it. He had to send a memo to every single employee.

It didn't take me long to start hating the job. I hated my co-workers. I hated the fact I sat in a cubicle answering phones. I hated that I hadn't seen a flower since I started working there. And no one resembled Christian Slater.

And then I got my paycheck. The whole commission only paycheck.

I had made $3 an hour. Three.

I quit the next day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Just So Little

From the moment I first held Bug after he was born, I knew he would grow up too fast.

It's one of the few things about parenting that I've been right about.

In some ways, it seems like he was never a baby. He walked early, he talked early, he knew his letters and numbers early. He was (mostly) well behaved. He never got into the cupboards or unrolled the toilet paper.

Fast foward to now, and he is a seven year old who announced he wants to be a paleontologist. He is smart. He is also sassy, transitioning to what I can only describe as teenage behavoir. My own 7 going on 15 child. We always expected a lot from Bug, for good or bad, and he has always delivered.

Monkey, on the other hand, has been my perpetual baby.

I tend to think of Monkey as my baby, and often find myself treating him as younger than he actually is.

The funny thing is this. He reached his milestones at about the same age as Bug. He talked and walked early. He is three years old, counts to 20, knowns his alphabet, and can point out a hexagon.

But I still call him my baby. I let him hang onto things like pacifiers, bottles, and sippy cups later than I should have. I postponed potty training him, because he was just so little.

Even when he is telling jokes about underwear and making his brother smell his feet, all I can see is my baby.

But there are times when suddenly, I realize he is not a baby. Moments like when he gets himself dressed, or brushes his own teeth, or recites the steps of how to make pancakes, or when we realize we need to start researching preschools. Then, I see him for what he is. A boisterious, happy, big, three year old.

Most days, I just can't wrap my mind around the concept that he is growing up.

I once heard that you view your children as babies until you have another one. It is only in the comparison to a tiny, new baby that you can actually see your growing child as just that.

I'm not so sure.

When I wake up in the morning to discover that Monkey has crawled into bed with us, and I see his round face with damp shaggy blonde hair plastered to his forehead. When I see him light up when I get home. When I scoop him up and nibble his tummy just to make him squeal with laughter. Even when I see him have a melt down at the kitchen table because he has been asked to stop washing his hands with lemonade.

At all these times, I'm pretty sure he will continue to be my baby.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Not Me! Monday: Back at Work

Thank goodness for the blogosphere. Otherwise, I would never know what day it was. Even if I did NOT go back to work today after a week of vacation.

I am NOT upset at all about being back at work. I would be completely bored if I stayed home. Right?

And right now, there is NO WAY that I am blogging at work. I am much too professional for that and jump right on my work. I do NOT post-pone reading ICU chest x-rays. I would never. Nope, not me.

I am NOT totally regretting just asking if I could get extra days off for boards instead of using up my vacation studying for and taking them. I am a completely forward, upfront person and always just ask. And I do NOT have a mini panic attack everytime I think about my board scores and whether or not I passed.

I DID NOT gain 3 pounds over the last week. I would NEVER use stress of boards, and then vacation, as an excuse to eat junk food and ice cream. And there is absolutely NO way that, after six months of not eating beef, that I ate a hamburger last night. I would stick to my diet no matter how delicious a portabella and swiss burger sounded.

Bug and I did NOT spend nearly four hours playing Wii together yesterday. I am always good at finding very productive, non-computer/television-based activities for my children to do. And, even if that were true, there is NO way I would do a victory dance when I beat Hubster's Rhythm Kung-Fu score. I am always very classy and a very good sport.

I knew that I had to wake up early this morning, so I DID NOT stay up late watching Revolutionary Road. And since Hubster had no interest in seeing the movie, I would NEVER lure him into the family room with ice cream. I did NOT cry during the movie. I never do things like that.

I am NOT completely dreading February. I do NOT dread overnight call and internal medicine more than anything.

How about you? Anything you DID NOT do this last week? Stop by MckMama to see what everyone else hasn't been doing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Snow and Water

Today marks the end of another week of vacation. Although (and partially because) this one was eaten up by board study, we were determined to actually "get away" for this one.

We would have loved a destination that included sunshine, temperatures above 40 degrees, and a beach. Maybe next year.

Instead, we decided to go skiing.

Yes, skiing here in Iowa. We lived in Utah and never once took our children skiing. In fact, it has been nearly 8 years since Hubster and I went skiing. But move to Iowa? We're all over it. Do not think the humor and irony of this is lost on us.

I've heard people talk about skiing here in Iowa, and I've scoffed. In fact, I think I've probably hurt several Iowans' feelings with my incredulousness. Is it a ramp off some buildings? I just couldn't picture. Iowa isn't flat like Kansas, but it sure doesn't have mountains. We were going to have to see this for ourselves.

We drove up to northeastern Iowa (with by the way, is beautiful, and we just can't wait to explore it in the summer!).

There, we found a small ski resort that was perfect for family skiing.

We stuck to the bunny hill, teaching our boys to ski. Neither of our boys had ever had skis strapped to their feet.

There was plenty of trepidation and even some whining about how heavy ski boots are. But none of that stopped us from gently coaxing them onto the incredibly gentle beginner slope.

And wouldn't you know it? After lunch, Bug, my normally incredibly timid child, who will not even try a new Wii game because he might be bad at it, said he would like to try going down the slope by himself. Which he did! We cheered for him the entire way down.

First solo run!

And then, not to be outdone, Monkey insisted he needed to ski down by his self. Which he also did, even though he did half the hill backwards. He hasn't stopped talking about that particular feat.

Want to see the cutest thing ever? I present to you the tiniest skier of the day!

Oh, he'll make his grandpa so proud!

After a long day of skiing, we took our tired legs to our hotel and spent the evening relaxing in the swimming pool and hot tub.

Although, when your three-year-old stands at the edge of the pool and shouts, "Watch, Mom! I'm going to do something that scares you!" while you grab at them before they jump in, it's not exactly relaxing.

On Saturday, we went to the National Mississippi River Museum.

Steamboat paddle wheel

Full of aquariums of animals found in the Mississippi River, and some excellent exhibits about steamboats, it was both completely fun and educational. As all museums should be. We saw river otters, enormous catfish, sturgeons, and even an alligator.

We then took a trolley ride to the Mississippi River. Where we spent exactly three minutes and decided that this too was something we should do in the summer.

After leaving the museum, we decided to drive around and explore a little. So we went here.

And then, just for fun, we went here.

And then Monkey said he needed to go potty. So we turned around. The whole exploration was 10 minutes. And everything looks the same in the mist.

It was such a great weekend.

Even if I did spend all day today doing laundry, which, as anyone knows, is how the day after vacation is always spent.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


A ubiquitous question on the interview trail, whether for medical school or for residency, was "How do you handle stress?"

I've given a variety of answers to this question. But thinking about it, I'm not so sure I even know what this question means.

How do I handle stress?

Does this mean, what do I do when there are stressful situations so I don't get stressed out?

Procrastinate, blog, watch as many Office re-runs as I can, sleep until noon. Well, that's what I would like to do, at least. I don't usually have the opportunity.

Most of the time, I just have to face stress head on. As in, Deal With It.

Which means I am stressed out. A lot.

So, does the question mean, what do I do when I am stressed out?

No one wants to hear the truth to that.

No one wants to hear that I get short-tempered with my family. That I find myself reading the same line in the text book over and over, and still nothing has made it into my gray matter. That I wake up at 2 am with my heart racing and can't get back to sleep. That I resort to eating handfuls of Skittles and neglect to cook my family dinner, or help with dishes or laundry.

That wasn't ever the answer I gave when I interviewed. Obviously.

But that's been reality here for the last couple of weeks. Ever since I decided that a couple of weeks should be plenty of time to study for Step 3 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam. A 2 day, 16 hour exam.

I've spent two weeks with my review book on my lab and my computer screen with thousands of questions in front of me. I've imposed a hermitage in our office and barked at anyone who dared enter. Or make too much noise in the hall. Or even, dare I say it, anyone who asked me to come to dinner. I've got my Skittles, I'm fine.

But I'm done.

And the January statistics report?

Weeks studying: 2
Hours a day: 5
Review book: read twice
Practice questions: 1250
Days testing: 2
Hours of testing in those 2 days: 12.5
Breakdowns: 1
Weeks waiting for my score: 6
Chances I'll have to do this again: ?

I know they ask that question on interviews to make sure you have some coping mechanisms (that don't involve rainbow colored candy.) They don't want to take on a resident that screams at nurses or melts into a puddle of tears in the middle of the ICU.

But I think a much more important question is this: "What do you do for fun?"

And that's this weekend is all about!

So, I'll see you Sunday evening. Right now, I've got two boys who are waiting to celebrate with me with a crazy game of Wii Bowling!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Making the most of my time

An extra day off is always a treat.

While mine was partially overcast by yet more hours of studying, it also consisted of a great deal of fun.

While the damp mists hung over the trees, the boys and I made Rice Crispy treats.

We then gathered armloads of blankets, made a nest on the couch, and watched Black Beauty. The boys watched intently, while they were cuddled up on either side of me. Monkey finally fell asleep with his little head against my side.

After his nap, we moved the blanket nest to the back door, where he was on the look out for the few bunnies that braved the cold weather.

After dinner and baths, a fire was made and Candy Land and Uno were played.

Soon, the boys will be read to and kissed and tucked into their bunk beds.

The thought that boards are only days away loomed over me at times throughout the day. The time left to study is slipping by.

But looking at the 3-year-old softly snoring by my side, or at the enthusiastic 7-year-old giggling at the competition of Uno, or clapping his hands for joy about making a treat with his mom, I realize that these days are slipping away even faster.

In a few years, I probably won't even remember my exact score on Step 3. But I will always remember a cold winter day, watching a movie about a horse, with my two boys, one tucked under each arm, under a mound of blankets.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter Watching

Driving home from work the morning of New Year's Eve, I came around a turn by the river when I spotted a bald eagle.

I gazed at it amazed.

I had only seen 1 or 2 wild bald eagles previous to this. I couldn't wait to get home and tell Bug about it (since birdwatching is one of Bug's favorite hobbies.)

It was then that I noticed the bald eagle was not alone. There were literally dozens of bald eagles in the trees along the river, soaring, swooping down to catch fish out of the river.

(Look in the tree tops!)

I hurried home, threw coats on my pajama-wearing boys and took them down to the river. We watched (from the car, because it was -5 degrees outside) for nearly an hour while Bug counted at least 35 eagles and Monkey squealed each time one caught a fish. We felt it was the perfect way to spend celebrating a new year.

Eagles migrate through this part of Iowa during the winter.

Over two weeks later, and the eagles are still here.

I drive past them every morning, just amazed by their size and striking plumage. Some days, they gather in groups and circle high above the river.

Today, we decided to venture out to do more eagle viewing. It was 32 degrees today, so the weather was more conducive to more active watching.

We drove down to the river, both boys prepared with binoculars.

We were not disappointed.

There were bald eagles, resting in the high branches of the bare trees lining the river.

We also saw juvenile bald eagles, which don't get the iconic white head and tail until 3-5 years of age.

Hubster's convinced them come to Iowa because the single digit temperatures here must feel quite tropical compared to where ever they came from.

I know the eagles will be moving on soon.

But we'll be watching for them again next winter. (Hopefully, with a better camera!) At least there is something amid all the gloom and cold to look forward to.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Random thoughts about this week.

-I am still very sad about the events in Haiti. The pictures are heart breaking. There is a group of physicians from my hospital leaving for Haiti this weekend. I wish I could be part of it.

-I wish that I liked Radiology. But sitting alone in a dark room dictating just isn't my cup of tea.

-The Christmas decorations are still up.

-I wish my Wii Fit age was real. How nice would it be to be getting younger?

-Hubster just started volunteering for Habitat for Humanity here in Iowa. Maybe someday we will get to build houses together.

-My vacation started tonight! Too bad the first part of it is going to be overshadowed by more board study.

-Boards are on Wednesday. Every time I think I can't study any more, I realize I have to. But 4-5 hours of studying a day are wearing me out. I've really lost my touch since I started medical school.

-We neglected to do laundry until everyone ran out of socks. After Hubster washed the socks, I put them away. I mated over 50 pairs of socks yesterday morning. I hate mating socks.

-I'm going to make crepes tomorrow.

-We've used our fireplace every single night this week. It is delightful.

-It reached 36 degrees yesterday. It was down right balmy.

-So far, I've lost 2 pounds. But my weight seems to fluctuate quite a bit, so I'm not counting my chickens yet. But am still optimistic.

-Starting a blog for the second time is much easier than doing it the first time. I wrote for nearly six months before I got a single comment on my first blog. Now, I get comments with every post. I love you guys!

-I may not like Radiology, but when my attending told me I had perfectly read a chest x-ray, it still made me pretty happy.

-We use voice recognition software in Radiology. I must talk strange, because I don't understand why when I say "exam" it spells out "circle of Willis." Other "misunderstandings." "Pulmonary" becomes "Coleman." "Desaturation" becomes "hole in the stranding." And for the life of me, I can't get the program to type "at." I try and try. I get "and," "and the," "to," even "pound." But never "at."

-Hubster registered for a blog domain this week. I'm not sure he will ever use it. But he should, because he is hilarious. Even if he types slower than glaciers move.

-Monkey has slept dry three nights this week! Progress!

-Revolutionary Road is on demand. I will be watching it this weekend. Mostly likely with a box of tissues.

-I've been overly emotional this week. I think the stress and winter are getting to me.

How was your week?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Picky Eaters

I am sure this will not be the last post with this title.

Most people have images of what they want their children to be like.  Mine?  Well, I didn't care if they were artistic, or athletic, or nerdy, or shy, or outgoing.  There was only one thing I knew.

My children were not going to be picky eaters.

Picky eaters are one of my biggest pet peeves.  I don't care if it is an olive, or  a tomato, or eggs.  It's not going to kill you.  Just eat it.  I understand food allergies.  I understand if there are a couple of foods you just cannot eat.  But picky eaters...the ones who have lists consisting of dozens of things they just don't really like?  Absolutely frustrating.

So I had a plan.  I was going to start early and introduce a wide variety of food to my children.  An array of fruits and vegetables would be found at most meals. And they would like them!

You know what they say about good intentions?  The best laid-plans?  It's all true. 

Bug specializes in picky eating. 

I can't eat that.  It's red!

While he does eat broccoli, spinach, and brussel sprouts without even a whimper (I know! Why am I even complaining?), the list of taboo foods is overwhelming.

No bananas, no oatmeal, no milk on his cereal, no jam, no fruit of any kind, no Italian salad dressing, no beans, nothing mint flavored, no bow-shaped noodles.  Nothing new.  And absolutely nothing that's red.

Every meal is prefaced by the question, "Have I had this before?"  Because I tend to do a lot of improvising in the kitchen, the answer is often "No."

The worst of it is, Monkey isn't a picky eater.  He eats everything.  Literally everything.  Even non-food items.  But he wants to be just like his big brother.  So when he sees Bug refusing a food, he follows suit. 

Bug's biggest nemesis, food-wise, has to be peas.

It may be because I always have bags of  frozen peas in the freezer, and dump them into almost everything I cook as a way to "healthen" the dish. 

Bug despises peas.  He doesn't understand why anyone eats them.  He moans every time we buy them.  There was one occasion where he accidentally ate a snow pea hidden in stir-fry and didn't complain.  I keep bringing that up as evidence that he actually likes peas.  He insists he has no recollection of the event.

The other night, we had pasta with, guess what? Peas.  Bug had finished of his noodles. In the bottom of his bowl were four peas, which by the looks he was giving me, Bug was hoping I hadn't noticed.  Oh, I noticed. 

Eat them, I say.


Hurry, just poke all four on your fork and eat them in one bite.

How about I just eat two?

How about you just eat four? 

Then as a joke, I said, "If you don't hurry and eat them, they'll start making more."

He rolled his eyes at me.

Hubster thought it was hilarious and spend the rest of the meal tossing extra peas into Bug's bowl every time Bug looked away.

It was hard to keep a straight face seeing the consternation on his face when he would muster up enough courage to look at the peas again, only to have five peas, then six, then seven, on his plate.  He finally caught Husbter trying to put the eighth pea in place, at which point we all burst out laughing. 

Okay, I conceded.  "You caught us.  You only have to eat three."

He rolled his eyes at me again.

How about two?

And then I think about how I was never going to have picky eaters for children.  In parenting, you have much less control than you would like to.  Like how well they sleep through the night, and how easy they are to potty train, and how tall they will be.

But I'll take it.  Fights over peas included.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Opportunity for Perspecitve

Yesterday, it seemed that everyone was talking about O'Brien-Leno conflict and the fact that it is Simon Cowell's last season on American Idol.

Today, those stories are shuffled, like they should be, to the background, while we focus on the tragedy in Haiti.  My thoughts and prayers are directed towards the Haitian people.

Potentially hundreds of thousands of people have died in an earthquake that has left the country devestated.

All it took was a few seconds for us to stop and put things in perspective.  For now.

The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsnaumi killed nearly 300,000 people.  And we have already almost forgotten that it ever happened.

Maybe it speaks to our infrastructure, our support, or our money that a disaster of this proportion has not occured in the United States.  But maybe not.  Maybe it is just luck.

Not to discount any loss and pain that many people have experienced due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but it was a fraction of the suffering and loss of life experienced by these other national disaters.  But it happened on our own shores, so we keep talking about it.

Is it truly out of sight, out of mind?

How long will we remember the people in Haiti?

"So long as we live among men, let us cherish humanity."  ~Andre Gide

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coming to Realize

Between the sudden increase of stress and busyness I find myself in right now, the need to blog is stronger than ever and the time to blog is less than ever. I really need to stop complaining about being busy, because, apparently, it can always get worse. Even with the desire to blog, all my mind keeps thinking is the most sensitive test for pheochromocytomas, or diagnostic studies for sickle cell anemia, or the antibiotic of choice for atypical pneumonia. Seriously, I almost wrote a post about things I re-learned while studying. And then I realized that NO one, not even me, really cares.

So in order to satisfy my need to write at the moment, while saving everyone from a regurgitation of medical trivial, I'm borrowing a terrific post from Gina.

I’ve come to realize that my job. . . is an amazing opportunity. Despite how tired it makes me.

I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving. . . I appreciate small town Midwest living even more. Minimal traffic suits me.

I’ve come to realize that I need. . .to get to bed at a decent time.

I’ve come to realize that I have lost. . .a great deal of the fear I used to have about life.

I’ve come to realize that I hate it when. . . people think I'm a nurse. No offense to nurses. I couldn't do their job. But seriously...

I’ve come to realize that if I’m drunk. . . I'll probably have some 'splainin' to do.

I’ve come to realize that certain people. . .will just always rub me the wrong way.

I’ve come to realize that I’ll always. . . love my children, no matter how noisy, messy, or stubborn they are.

I’ve come to realize that my sibling(s). . . are going to continue to get birthday cards from me. Now matter how old they get.

I’ve come to realize that my mom…is the most patient woman I know.

I’ve come to realize that my cell phone. . . is apparently a "dumb phone."

I’ve come to realize that when I woke up this morning. . . my to-do list felt nearly overwhelming.

I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep. . . I wasted several hours of potential study time crying while watching "The Soloist."

I’ve come to realize that right now I am thinking. . .that blogging at work is probably frowned upon.

I’ve come to realize that my dad. . . is where I get a lot of my personality traits from.

I’ve come to realize that when I get on Facebook. . . I promise and promise myself that I'll just be on for a second. And then I get sucked right in.

I’ve come to realize that today. . . is going to be more productive than yesterday.

I’ve come to realize that tonight. . . I will take time away from studying to read to and kiss my boys goodnight.

I’ve come to realize that tomorrow. . . means the boards are one week away. And then I will be done! For now...

I’ve come to realize that I really want to. . . .escape the snow and go somewhere warm. Why did I move to the Midwest again?

I’ve come to realize that the person mostly likely to repost this is. . . more likely to post it on Facebook than they are on their blog.

I’ve come to realize that life. . . doesn't just happen. It gives us opportunities and then sees what we do with them.

I’ve come to realize that this weekend. . . is the perfect opportunity to make Rice Crispy treats while freezing temperatures keep us inside.

I’ve come to realize that my friends. . . are few but precious.

I’ve come to realize that this year. . . will undoubtedly surprise me, despite being so planned out. Last year sure did.

I’ve come to realize that my husband. . . is amazingly patient with me and continues to support me no matter how difficult it gets.

I’ve come to realize that maybe I should. . . lose the baby weight from the last two "babies" before I seriously contemplate having another. Although all the posts about new pregnancies is making me slightly restless...

I’ve come to realize that I love. . . the new friends I've made blogging, summer, and sitting by our fireplace.

I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand. . . why people think the BCS is a good system for determine the college football national champion.

I’ve come to realize my past. . .doesn't limit my future.

I’ve come to realize that parties. . .don't appeal to me as much as they used to.

I’ve come to realize that I’m totally terrified. . .that the terrible, heart-breaking things I see at the hospital could happen to my family.

I’ve come to realize that my life. . .continues to be on track, heading in the direction I've/we've worked to hard set.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Take Home Points

Intern year is strange.

Every month is a brand new job. There are new roles, new responsibilities, new attending, new residents, new expectations.

It takes several weeks just to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing. Right in time for me to finish that rotation and be on to the next.

Even stranger than that is the fact that, for the majority of rotations, I will never do them again. I will never again work in the emergency room, manage cardiology or renal patients, or set foot in the NICU.

It is designed to give us a good foundation for the rest of our training. Which I suppose it does.

Even though I won't be doing radiology or internal medicine again, I do learn a lot from each month. Well, enough to learn some key issues. Take home points, if you will.

I just finished Trauma Surgery last month. I had been dreading this month more than (almost) any other. Both because it feel over Christmas, and because...well, it's trauma. It actually turned out to be one of my favorite months. The people were great. The work was fast paced and interesting. The schedule was predictable. I didn't work Christmas.

It's also the month where the take home points were the most obvious.

First: It is never, never, ever worth it.

The talking on the cell phone when driving. The texting while driving. The speeding. The trying to make the green/yellow/red light. The "it was just a couple drinks." The not taking the keys away from from your drinking friend. The driving sleepy.

All the people I saw in the trauma bay, with all the broken limbs, broken backs, lacerated spleens and livers, head bleeds, and punctured lungs. Yes, some of them were just driving along when things out of their control happened. Sitting at a red light when they got from behind. But the majority of them, that's not their story. Positive alcohol levels, stories of looking down at their cell phones, falling asleep at the wheel.

It is never worth it.

Second: You really should always wear clean underwear.

Friday, January 8, 2010

To Do List

The last week has been crazy. Crazy I tell you.

I'm beginning to think I should have given myself just a little more time to study for boards. At the time (meaning January 4) 16 days seemed like plenty of time. Now, on January 8, 12 days seems no where near long enough.

But even with my attempt at a rigorous study schedule, I didn't want to miss the chance to jump on the bandwagon. At least the ride is nice.

Karen and Jennee have started a weekly feature to help those of us who make resolutions actually keep them. And what better way to join in than to actually post my resolutions.

I looked over my last year's resolutions. And I'm giving myself a big fat F for the last year. Not that the year was a failure, by any means. 2009 marked an incredibly exciting year for this little family. But my resolutions feel by the wayside somewhere in Wyoming, I think.

One of the problems is that they were rather vague. "Be a better person" and "eat better" are all well and good. But what do they really mean?

Goals also have to be realistic. I may resolve to eat more vegetables, but to resolve that I'm going to grow all my own food is just signing myself up for failure. I can say I want to exercise one hour every day. But between overnight call and kids (and board study, don't let me forget that's what I should be doing) it just isn't going to happen.

I still really want to accomplish everything that was on my list last year.

But I'm going to be a little more specific this year.

I'm also going to make it a "To-Do" list, with little check boxes. The rest of my life is that way, why not my goals.

So here it is.

2010 To-Do list:

-The perennial goal to lose weight. I'm going to divide it up this year. I plan on losing 5 pounds by May 1st, then another 5 pounds by September 1st. After that, we get into the holiday season, so I will try to maintain over the fall/winter.

-Be able to touch my toes. I just realized last week I can't do this anymore.

-Get my passport. I know! I don't have a passport. I've never been anywhere that required one. My out of the country experience has consisted of Vancouver Island, Tijuana, and the Bahamas. I don't have plans to go out of the country this year, but one can never be too prepared.

-Date night with Hubster. Hubster and I, while we have a great relationship, are rather notorious for letting ourselves slide way down the priority totem pole. Between the seemingly never-ending school/residency, the boys, and the daily chores, we seem to never find dedicated "us" time. We watch movies together and talk at the dinner table (between interruptions about dropped silverware and too much salt). But we don't designate time specifically for us. We plan on changing that just a little this year. We're starting little. Date night once a month. Baby-sitters are still rather hard to come by. If we can't find one, we're at least going to put the kids to bed early, get take out from our favorite restaurant, and take the time to refocus on being together.

-Pass the boards the first time.

-Use my crock pot (at least) once a month.

-Finish moving in. There are still five boxes in the garage that have not even been touched. I will have them emptied (or at least moved) before June 1st. (A year after we move is a good deadline to be moved in, right?)

-Finish moving into this blog. I will focus on this the last week of January. After boards are over. I'm a little distracted by that if you didn't notice.

I'll touch bases now and then (maybe not weekly. What with the whole "sustainability" thing and all.) Maybe I'll even get ambitious and make a list for my side bar. But would be just another thing on the "to-do" list to be checked off.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

By any other name

I thought January would be a good time to start something new.

Like this blog. A combination of my former family blog and personal blog.

I didn't really expect January to also find me in the middle of a new exercise routine, two weeks away from licensing exams (the "Boards"), and a new family schedule.

So posts may be a little scarce while I study my three hours daily to ensure I don't have to fork out another small fortune to take the boards again.

But I wanted to welcome you to my new internet home.

The Katherine Wheel.

The look of this blog is in no way final. It is after all just a standard Blogger template. Right at this minute, other priorities exist than spending time with backgrounds, and layouts, and widgets. All that will come. Expect this blog to look a little different every time you visit it. At least of the first month or so while I tweak everything until it is just perfect.

And if you know any great websites for blog designs or any awesome (extremely affordable) blog designers, please let me know.

Why "The Katherine Wheel"?

I thought about a lot of other names. Dozens and dozens of other names. I would say them out loud while driving to work. (Obviously, I put too much thought into this.) Many of them were plays on anesthesia, or references to my three boys, or to babies, or to Iowa, or to medicine in general.

But I don't know what my life holds. If we've learned anything over the last decade, it is that life is unpredictable.

There may be a time when my life included a little girl in addition to my three gentlemen. My life may not always include Iowa, or babies, or even medicine.

The only thing that I can guarantee is that I will always be Katherine.

So, welcome.