Wednesday, March 31, 2010


We have an unofficial motto in our house.

Delayed Gratification.

In fact, since we don't even have an official motto, we could just promote this one from its unofficial status, but I don't think we'd attract more guests to our dinner table with "Delayed Gratification" painted above the door.

Our lives have been about waiting. With the idea (and hope) that all that waiting pays off in the end.

We've watched friends and family travel. Buy new cars. Buy new houses. Have the latest technology. Have even no-so-latest technology that we still didn't have.

Hubster and I haven't traveled. We drive at least one of the ugliest cars in the parking lot. We don't have smart phones, laptops, or fancy mp3 players.

We watched our friends drive their shiny new cars and go on their exotic trips. And then we went to class.

I was the girl in high school who had the detailed 10 year plan. The girl who knew exactly what she wanted. Amazingly enough, I've stuck with that plan.

My 10 year high school reunion is a couple of months. And although I won't be able to go, I'm proud of what I've accomplished in that time frame.

There have been times when it has been unbelievably tough. Times I wasn't sure we were going to make it. Times that I curled up on the kitchen floor and bawled my eyes out about how hard it all was. Times we've looked at the bills, looked at the bank account, and then back again, not sure how to make the math work.

It will all be worth it.

That's what we've kept telling ourselves during this long path.

That giving up all that extra time, that going one hundred thousand dollars in debt for our education, that just waiting would all be worth it.

It seems like we've been saying that for a very long time.

Yes, my 10 year plan is now a 15 year plan. But I've already done the first 10 years. There are only a few more.

One day, I was venting to my mom that I felt like I was giving everything up, and it seems so easy for other people, and how could I keep going when it would take so long, and I'm going to be 30! Well, someday. Her response has kept me going. All those years are going to pass. One way or another, they are going to pass. I'll be 30 whether I went to medical school or not. I'll be 30 whether I did residency or not. So, since I'm going to be 30 someday, what did I want to do with the time it took to get there.

I would rather put my shoulder down, work hard, be a doctor with an amazing family at the end of that time rather than have spent the time driving a (now not) new day and having (no longer) new technology.

Delayed Gratification.

We teach it to our boys.

That sometimes, the things you have to wait for are better than the things you can have right now.

On second thought, maybe I will paint it above the door.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Tree

Easter is this weekend.

We've dyed Easter eggs.

Which means it's the time of year for the Easter tree.

I'm not exactly sure when we started this tradition. But it had to do with wanting to paint and decorate eggs, but then not wanting to hide the fragile, beautiful works of art.

I'm pretty sure the tradition did not stem from still having our Christmas tree up at Easter and decorating it with eggs as an excuse to not take it down. But I can't be sure.

Last year, our Easter tree was beautiful.

This year, it's a little...well, scraggly.

And I have no idea if the branches we chose will actually have flowers like last year. With my luck, there will either be no flowers, or ones that smell like the door mat.

It does make me smile every time I walk in the kitchen, so it is my photo for the Happiness Project.

Be sure to check out Leigh at Leigh vs. Laundry, the maker of the the Happiness Project. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Little Monday Therapy Session

I am NOT in mourning over the fact that my last two consecutive days off until June are now over. I completely DID NOT get used to having weekends off and two whole days of rest and relaxation and family time.

I have NOT been so pre-occupied by the fact that I am starting back in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) that I can hardly enjoy myself. I am NOT so stressed about it that I have NOT dreamed about the SICU for the last three nights. I absolutely know that it won't be that bad. And even if it were, I wouldn't let it impact my free time. Not me!

I DID NOT hover over the boys as they decorated Easter eggs. I did NOT constantly remind them not to splash the coloring or drip the eggs across the table. I would just let my boys enjoy themselves while we color eggs. And even if I did get after them, I would NOT be the only person who actually spilled egg coloring on their shirt. I am still NOT finding glitter over every surface of the kitchen. Even with that, we absolutely DID NOT have fun!

I did NOT skip out on a time slot previously set aside for studying to enjoy the 70 degree weather. I am completely dedicated to my studies and wouldn't shirk them just for a little sun delivered vitamin D. And even if I did, I would do it myself. I would NEVER make the boys go for a walk with me, even after they DID NOT make it perfectly clear they did not want to go.

Hubster is NOT is a very funny mood today. He has NOT said nearly everything in a Christopher Walken's voice today. He did NOT spend the afternoon before I came home from work teaching the boys all manner of silly finger games. Hubster is a very mature, serious person and would never do anything like that.

I DID NOT laugh when I went to set the table for dinner and found this scene. I am absolutely NOT wondering what the parrots did to the dinosaurs. Only Monkey knows.

When I took the boys to get their mops, um, hair cut, I did NOT decide on a whim to get mine cut as well. I am now totally NOT regretting it.

Yes, I know I look upset and slightly dangerous here. Can you not see the haircut!?

My new fringe does NOT remind me of the '80s or of being 11 years old again. I would NEVER just change hairstyles on a whim. And even if I did, I would NOT still be upset about it every time I look in the mirror. Not me!

Whew! That felt good.

Go check out MckMama and find out what everyone has NOT been doing this week.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Have It Together

For a long time, I've thought of myself as someone who has it all together.

At least, that's been the image I've been trying to project. That's what I would like everyone to believe.

Some people think I have it all. I'm an anesthesiology resident. I have an amazing husband. I'm the mother to two darling boys. We have a house in one of the best school districts in our city.

But some days are a struggle.

Okay, fine. Most days are a struggle.

I haven't found a rhythm that allows me to move gracefully through one day and into the next. Getting dinner on the table, the boys into their pajamas and into bed, and myself off to sleep at a decent time is a constant battle. And that's just the basics. If I take into account the fact that dishes need to be washed, beds need to be made, laundry needs doing, and floors need sweeping, I'm a complete wreck.

There are days when the realization that I need to shower makes me feel completely overwhelmed.

The sad thing is that none of this is new. We've been living with our lifestyle for nearly a year. Why can't I find a system that works in all that time?

I look at other people who have dinner at a reasonable time, kids off to bed at set times. There are other moms in my residency program who seem to find time to family activities and time to study.

I've nearly given up on studying. I just don't know how to fit it in.

But here's the really funny thing.

I'm happy.

I'm tired and overwhelmed. There are days that I feel my responsibilities will break through the dyke and drown me.

But I'm really happy.

My children are thriving. My husband is happy. Even without the schedule and finding the time to do everything, home is relaxing. There is truly no place I would rather be.

Maybe I do have it together more than I thought.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


When we took Monkey out of daycare in January, we knew it was a good thing.

Hubster had finished up his dental school prerequisites and with only DAT study left to do, it meant that he would be able to be home with Bug and Monkey full time.

Daycare had been a regular part of our lives for several years now.

At first, my parents watched Bug when when I returned to school when he was only 6 weeks old. A few months later, when my parents moved, Hubster's sister watched Bug during the rest of my undergraduate career and my first year of medical school. When she had a baby, and was no longer able to, we found another family friend to watch him.

And then we had Monkey.

It's one thing to ask friends and family to babysit (full time no less) when you have one child. Two kids? Now that's another thing entirely.

We also found ourselves needing to live closer to school, which made any individual we trusted with our children at least 30 minutes away. Too far to drive on a daily basis.

So we enrolled the boys in daycare.

I wasn't there the first day they were dropped off. I was away on my internal medicine clerkship of medical school. I didn't have to undergo what Hubster went through. He still describes it as one of the hardest days of parenting so leave your child at daycare for the first time.

Fast forward three years, and the thought of being done with daycare (at least for now) made us all want to dance with joy.

Everyone, it turns out, except for Monkey.

Daycare (or "school" as we call it) had become such a regular part of our lives that for Monkey, it was perfectly normal.

After he stopped going, he was sad for days. He missed his friends, he missed his teachers, he missed the games and activities and crafts.

I like to think of this as a good thing. It means that we had a great care center (which we absolutely in our city!). And it also means that we've been successful in not transferring all the guilt we had about daycare to our children.

It's several months later, and Monkey still talks about missing school.

So we've decided to enroll him in preschool this fall. He will get social interaction, activities, and academics.

(And Hubster will get 2 half days a week to himself. For home improvement or study. Or golf, if we're being completely honest.)

Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, we decided to check out a preschool on the outside of town.

They had a spot.

And more importantly, we love it! The place is on a small farm, and it's amazing. I fell in love with the place just walking through the front door of the farmhouse that is the school.

Monkey is already talking about how excited he is to go there.

It feels good to be doing something because it is the right thing for our children, and not just a matter of convenience.

And now, I'm excited for school to start too!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Break, Staycation Style

Spring Break is over.

Bug is back to school. Hubster is back to studying furiously for the DAT (Dental Admission Test). Monkey is back to playing. I'm back to work...

Oh, wait. I was working the whole time.

I wish someone had told me that growing up involved giving up Spring Break, Summer Vacation, President's Day, Winter Recess, Labor Day, and parent-teacher conference recess. Actually, I think someone mentioned it one. I'm pretty sure I just laughed and said, "Don't be ridiculous. No one actually works during the summer!"

Our Spring Break didn't include exotic locales with palm trees and white sandy beaches. It didn't include amusement parks with giant mice.

Instead, our Spring Break included arts and craft time...

Our Spring Break included a tent in the boys bedroom that we all slept in, a bag of marshmallows, a box of cookies, and twenty library books...

(Well, Hubster waited until the rest of us were alseep and then he snuck back and enjoyed the comfort of a real mattress).

Our Spring Break included one day of snow (on the first day of spring, no less) that resulted in a snowball fight and a giant snowman.

Our Spring Break included, "Mom, if you take one more picture of me..."

Would I love to travel? Absolutely! But I think there is something valuable in teaching our children to be satisfied with spending time together as a family. Do I want their childhood memories to include beaches and DisneyWorld? Of course. But I want them to realize that happiness doesn't come from that, but from each other.

We may not have left home, but the memories are just as priceless.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


It's amazing what a year can bring.

Apparently, even when you're not paying that close of attention, a year can bring another birthday.

Today, I'm 28.

Somehow, 28 feels exactly the same as 27. Younger in someways. I've done so much the last 12 months, but only added one year to my age.

I guess the fact that I feel tired most of the time, have found four gray hairs, and can see the start of wrinkles around the corners of my eyes and mouth doesn't exactly make me feel like I'm a twenty something. I don't even want to think about how I'll feel in two years when I'm turning 30. Or maybe 29 again. I still haven't decided.

One year ago, I was celebrating with dozens of friends and family.

Today, I was woken up by three smiling boys, two of which bounced on the bed.

One year ago, we were sharing the news that we had matched into my number one choice anesthesiology residency.

Today, I have completed 9 months of my anesthesiology residency, and am still alive.

One year ago, we broke the news to our family that we were moving to Iowa.

Today, I woke up to a sunny Midwestern morning in our very own home.

One year ago, I thought I had my future all laid out in front of me, like so many dominoes. Iowa, house, residency. Perfectly clear.

Today, the first few dominoes have been pushed, but the path isn't quite as clear. There are so many options and side paths. Third baby? Fellowship? Back to Utah? Hubster in dental school?

One year ago, I was 27.

Today, I'm 28.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Outdoor Time

When we moved into our house, one of the things I was most excited about was having a backyard. A large, fully fenced backyard!

We had lived in one apartment after another. By the time we moved, we were completely over the apartment scene. The sharing walls, ceilings, and floors with neighbors. The small cramped spaces. The lack of outdoor space. We were ready to move on.

Of all the things that bothered me about living in apartments, not having a real place for the boys to play outdoors was the worse. Our last apartment did have a grassy place between the buildings with a small play area. But there was no fence between the grass and the busy parking lot. There was also an high traffic road that was fairly easy access. Not to mention all the people who lived at the apartment. There was no way I was going to let my boys play outside without me.

We did try to spend as much time as possible outside. But there was always things that needed to be done. Dinner, laundry, dishes, homework, etc.

So Bug and Monkey spent little time outside and absolutely no time unsupervised outside.

I spent nearly the entire trip from Utah to Iowa telling them how wonderful our house was, because it had a large backyard that they could play in.

The only problem...they didn't really.

I had thought they would take to the newly discovered outdoor space instantly. That they would relish their freedom.

But they didn't.

They preferred to stay inside with Hubster and me. We encouraged them to play outside, and were usually met with, "No thanks. I'm okay here."

It never occurred to me that playing unsupervised and independently might be a developed skill.

However, there seems to be nothing a long Iowan winter can't cure.

The last week has been blissfully warm and sunny. And every day I've come home to the boys running around the backyard, chasing after soccer balls, swinging baseball bats, and pushing each other on the tree swing.

Maybe they'll grow up to be normal after all.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Dear Day Light Savings Time,

You've taken quite a bit of flack the last couple days, what with making people wake up an hour earlier and all. I know for a fact that Hubster hates you (thus the Stupid Day written on our calendar.)

But I like you.

I know, I know. Maybe I'm crazy. But I do. Yes, it's dark when I leave for work. But it was dark when I left for work before this last weekend. It was also dark when I got home. And now it's light when I get home. We have dinner while the sky is still light. I feel like I've just been given extra hours in the day.

Everyone else can say what they want. I like you.


Someone who celebrates every sign that winter is over. Even Day Lights Saving.


Dear Iowa Winter,

You were long. You were frigid. You were some of the hardest months I've been through.

I know you were doing your best to be a typical hard Midwestern winter. But the 30 days without a temperature above 30 was a bit much, don't you agree? And two cold snaps with wind chills to -30 may have been overkill.

But despite all that, you are reasonable.

March 1st came along, and you very politely backed up and left. You left and made way for sunshine and 60 degree temperature days.

So even though I hate you, and am not looking forward to our meeting next year, I still would like to thank you for leaving on time.


A transplanted Utahn who is used to snow in May


Dear Anesthesiology,

I am so happy to be back (even if it is just for one month.) Thank you for being as wonderful as I remember you.

Yes, you are a lot of work. Yes, you are difficult. Yes, I leave at the end of the day so exhausted I am falling asleep over dinner.

But you are exciting and fun, and it's a little like having that new relationship feeling.

I can't believe I get to do this for a living.


A resident who feels validated about her decision.


Dear House,

You were not the house of my dreams when I first met you. You were a product of the 70s and blue. And you had terrible lighting.

But I have fallen completely in love with you.

You are no longer just a house. You are a home for my family.

I know that you have felt a little neglected over the winter months. We've done little to dress you up and improve you over the last several months.

But don't worry. We have big plans for you.

Excitedly yours,

A giddy first time home owner whose dreams may just slightly exceed her budget

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Proof that winter doesn't last forever


This blog carnival is from Leigh vs Laundry, my newest blog obsession. She posted 28 days of photos of things that made her happy. I was going to follow suit, but weekly is all I can manage.

Monday, March 15, 2010

While They Sleep

Sometimes I'm a rotten parent.

Every morning when I leave for work, before the sun is up and the house is quiet and dark, I kiss the damp heads of my little boys goodbye. And every day, I think that this will be the day I'm not strong enough to leave them again. All I want is to curl up next to them while they sleep and hold them.

But I leave. Every morning, I kiss them while they are sleeping and leave.

During the day, it is rush rush rush hurry hurry hurry think think think decide decide decide. I am glad I'm doing this. This is good for our family. This puts a roof over our head and a future in our reach. But it is hard. There are moments when it is quiet and I stand in a back hall, take a deep breath, and am still. When it is still, I am homesick for blond-headed blue-eyed boys.

12 hours, maybe 30, pass before I go home again. Then I have one thought on my mind. Hurry hurry hurry home to the too quickly growing boys that I love.

I love these boys more than I ever thought possible.

I guess that's the reason I'm so disappointed with myself.

I just want to soak them up, but too many times I walk through the door and notice the unswept floor or the unfinished homework or the occasional sibling bicker. I want to savor each moment, but find myself tense and short-tempered.

I can be a really terrible parent.

I escape to quiet at the computer or with a text book. I bark at them for being too loud. I'm not patient with Bug's questions or Monkey's crying. I can be rough with my words, short with my attention, and quick with my discipline.

I will have had the opportunity to spend several hours with them, hours that could have been spent reading together, constructing blanket forts or block kingdoms, but instead were trifled away with laundry and dishes and Facebook.

Monkey doesn't let me read to him or brush his teeth or carry him to bed anymore. He requests, no, demands Hubster be the person who turns the pages and tucks the covers over him. I vacillate between taking it in stride and being angry and hurt. He's only three years old.

But I think he's already disappointed in me too.

He won't let me kiss him good-night.

But after he and Bug are asleep, and then again before they wake, I'll kneel by their bed and kiss them, and promise to do better tomorrow.

Friday, March 12, 2010



Monkey runs up to me while I'm doing dishes and puts his head against my leg.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm listening to you!"

Sweet, but somehow still missing the point.


Bug brings home his spelling test. He's missed one. I'm so proud of him for doing so well. Then I see that he misspelled bring. He hasn't missed that word once during his daily practice. He has spelled it "braing."

"Bug, how come you spelled bring 'braing'?"

"Well, that's how Mrs. W-- said it."

Got to love the Midwestern accent. Good thing we don't live in the South, or he would never learn to spell.


Monkey has no artistic inclinations. He doesn't like to color or draw. But we're encouraging him. Color this, try to make a circle, etc, etc.

He is sitting at the table with a paper and some crayons, singing 'Puff the Magic Dragon' to himself.

"Monkey, how about you draw Puff the Magic Dragon?"

"I can't. It's too hard."

"Well, how about you just try?"

He grabs a crayon and, dramatically fast, makes a line across the paper.

"Look," he shouts, "No dragon!"


Bug and Monkey are playing Wii Bowling together. Bug is, um, "coaching" Monkey.

"Throw the ball as hard as you can. Throw it like you're throwing your arm off!"

"Bug," I call from the other room, "talk nice."

"Oh, come on, Mom. It's just a simile."

Even when they talk back, it's hard to not be proud.


A picture says a million words. This one doesn't say enough!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Because of Winn-Dixie

It's been a long time since I've done a book review. Because it's been a long time since I've read a book.

I did read Silas Marner in January after boards. And I liked it more than I thought I would. Granted, it did have the overly long conversation in the tavern that many of the classic 1800s English novels seem to love.

I actually have been reading. For the most part, it is material that no one wants me reviewing on my blog. No doubt my review of Anesthesia and Co-Existing Disease would be enthralling, but I'll spare you. Because it's Monday.

I've also been reading to Bug. My boys and I read together every single night. Call it a family tradition (my mother read to us every night.) It used to picture books: Where the Wild Things Are, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Verdi. With Monkey, it still is.

But since Bug is now a little older, we've been branching out to novels. We've read Winnie-the-Pooh, Charlotte's Web, Black Beauty, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, The Little House on the Prairie series.

And then I was stumped. I didn't know what to read next.

Until I came across a review for Kate DiCamillo's books. The review was so complementary that I immediately decided they would be Bug's and mine next books.

We started with Because of Winn-Dixie.

Told from the point of view of 10-year-old India Opal who lives with her father, this is a story told openly and honestly. After all, given the chance, children will be open and honest, even if to a fault.

India Opal's mother left her for her father to raise when she was 3 years old. Lonely and feeling disconnected from everyone around her, she happens upon a stray dog. And through Winn-Dixie, she finds friendship, forgiveness, and love.

There were mature themes throughout the book, including discussions about alcohol abuse, death of a child, and parental abandonment. But the story presents them simply and openly, allowing Bug and I to talk about the issues without them feeling awkward or overwhelming.

I'll be honest. I'm in love with this book. The writing, while simple enough that my seven-year-old understood every line, is poetic and haunting. Over and over, I found myself aching a little because of the sadness and beauty. There is humor and anger and happiness.

There is no exciting story line. No climax of the plot. This is a story about relationships and emotions, not about plot twists or surprise endings. It is written for children. I saw Bug connect to the heroine and her dog more than he has connected to any book so far. But the writing and themes made me enjoy this book just as much as my son.

I can't wait to read the rest of DiCamillo's books!

And if you have any suggestions for books to read out loud to a very smart seven year old boy, please let me know! We only have 3 DiCamillo books left!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Even Children

Tonight, when I finally got home after another 12 hour day, I could tell I wasn't the only one in need of a break.

Being gone all the time is hard on Hubster, the boys, and myself.

So we rented a movie, ordered pizza, and snuggled up under a pile of blankets on the couch.

We watched Where the Wild Things Are.

I'm not going to review the movie, or discuss the cinematography or how well I feel the story line was adapted from the book.

But after tucking my children, smelling of garlic and sleepiness, in bed, my eyes still misty from the movie, I feel like I should at least talk about it. Not about the movie itself, but about things it made me think about.

It's not a kid movie. It doesn't do anything to explain itself. But even so, my children picked up on the themes like they were child psychologists.

Which, suddenly I realized, they are.

Despite the fact that we were once all children, we as adults still patronize them. We think of them as irrational, not understanding. We look at their lives and are envious of the simplicity, the lack of responsibility, the abundance of time and the scarcity of stress.

But watching Max interact with his larger than life personality traits, I remembered just a little bit about what it was like to be little.

Maybe, when you're 5, or 10, or even 15, you don't understand all the details. Life is complex and we balance pros and cons of decisions that children may not understand.

But the impact on children isn't less just because they don't understand the reasoning. The emotions they feel aren't less real or powerful just because we don't understand why they are feeling that way.

As children, we experience a vast spectrum of emotions. Wildly crazy happy to heart wrenchingly sad. As we age, we start to limit ourselves to an ever smaller range on the spectrum of emotions. And sometimes, we limit ourselves so much, we forget that we used to experience so much more.

I vividly remember being so excited for something I couldn't sleep. I remember being so sad I thought I would fold up into myself and disappear. I've been so scared that I physically hurt. And I've been so angry that I was sure I could never love that person again.

We like to think that our children are carefree and happy. And hopefully, for the most part, they are. But I doubt there are many of us who look at our childhood and only have memories of lazy summers and simple routines.

I look at my own children and realize that is not the case.

I see Bug struggle every day to fit in at his new school. I ask him about his day at the dinner table and I can tell he is lonely. I know he has so much he wants to talk about, but so many times I've given him the excuse that I'm too busy or too tired or things are just too loud right now. I've watched him at the pool with other children and him desperately trying to hide the fact that he can't swim. I've seen him angry with his little brother. And that's only the parts he lets me see.

I think we forget that even children are carrying their own loads.

As I carry my nodding tow-head to bed, I pray I can carry not just him, but a little of the load, so that maybe he will look back and remember the evening together and not so much the lonely day before it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nursery Magic

The Velveteen Rabbit is a story very familiar to many of us. The small stuffed rabbit who is loved so much by a little boy that he eventually becomes a real rabbit is an endearing tale

And it's easy to stop just at that.

But I can't.

I've seen the Nursery Magic come alive in our own home.

(What? Magic?! This coming from the woman who tells her children Santa isn't real? Yes. Bear with me here.)

It all started with this...

A stuffed toy tiger that wasn't even supposed to be ours.

We were visiting my grandmother in Oregon for Christmas one year. Bug was three at the time. My grandmother had bought some toys so that the grandchildren (and great-grandchild) would have something to play with during their visit. The tiger was among the toys, and supposed to be a "communal" toy.

Bug took one look at that tiger, grabbed it up in a ferocious hug, and never let go. He named the tiger "Stripey" almost on the spot.

And that is how Stripey joined the family. Literally.

Stripey soon found he had a place set for him at the table. Bug insisted he be included in playing board games and in story time. Stripey needed his own kisses goodnight.

It was all just very cute in my mind, a lot of make-believe, until one day, when Bug was asked to bring a favorite toy to preschool, I asked him if he was going to take Stripey. He said, no, because Stripey was real, and not a toy.

It was then that I realized the Nursery Magic had found us.

Especially when Bug started telling me that we had four people in our family: Daddy, Mommy, Bug, and Stripey (this was the pre-Monkey era.) He also told me I had two children: Bug guessed it...Stripey.

It didn't end there.

Monkey loves animals. He especially loves dogs. And since a real dog is not in any foreseeable future, we got him a special Christmas present when he was two years old.

And that was when Dog joined our family. (Yes, let's all take a moment of silence for Monkey's creativity.)

Dog gets his teeth brushed, stories read to him. He gets to sit in the shopping cart, and he needs naps.

I would just brush it off as two little boys who love a set of stuffed animals immensely. But this is the wonder of the Nursery Magic.

Other children sense it too. Dog and Stripey are favorites of other children. When we would go to visit friends and family, the other little kids would run out and ask if Bug and Monkey had brought Stripey and Dog. Other children spend time hugging and petting these two toys.

Do I think there is real Nursery Magic and that Stripey and Dog sit together at night, staring at the moon, having existential conversations about their mortality? No. Do I think that these animals are so loved by two little boys that even other children can sense it? Yes.

And that is why, for us, the very dirty, worn out, faded tiger and dog are very much real.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


All we did was turn the page on the calender. But it felt like everything changed.

Suddenly, it was warm. The snow was melting, the sky was clear, and it felt like spring. Granted, the snow in the parking lot is still in piles taller than my car and it may take a couple of months for all that to melt, but I'm beginning to have hope.

Alright, I'll be honest. Warm might be an overstatement. It was 37 degrees. But with the last two and a half months spent at temperatures 20 degrees or less, this feels balmy. In fact, Bug refused to wear a coat outside. I tried insisting, but I could just not counter his persistence that it was now "too warm for coats." Instead, he traipsed around outside in a T-shirt.

Apparently, most of Iowa agrees, since on my way home from work I passed dozens of people out walking, running, and riding bikes, many in shorts and T-shirts. On March 2nd, in 37 degree temperature. Crazy Midwesterners.

March saw evening television without the Olympics. So now there is finally time to catch up on Lost, Survivor, Amazing Race, and Psych episodes that are filling my DVR. Although I sure will miss the bobsledding commentary. "There is no Mason-Dixon line in Germany." (If someone understands what this is supposed to mean, other than the obvious fact that, yes, that's correct, there is no Mason-Dixon line in Germany, please let me know.)

March has also brought the end of internal medicine and the start of anesthesia.

It had been over a year and a half since the last time I did anesthesia. In fact, that was the last time I was in the operating room.

I've spent the last several months worrying that I might not like it anymore. Or that I would have forgotten everything, and be a complete failure. I was desperate to like anesthesia, and to be good at it, well, because I felt like I didn't have a lot of other options. I didn't really like anything else.

Sitting in the operating room, behind the drapes today, drawing up medications and preparing IV tubing, and watching the fast green blips of the cardiac monitors, and the slower white waves of the ventilator, I felt like I had come home to the mother ship. I may not speak the language very fluently, but it felt right. Sitting there, I wondered why anyone would want to do anything other than anesthesia.

Well, at least for a job.

Because even anesthesia isn't as great as coming home to my family each day.

March has already brought changes there. You can feel cabin fever starting to dissipate. There is more laughter, more playing together, more time for stories.

Maybe all these changes have been happening for a longer time than just the last two days. Maybe it just took a turn of the calendar to start noticing them.

And to celebrate changes, and the happiness inherent in them, I am participating in Leigh's Happiness Project. (Leigh is my newest favorite blog...she is absolutely hilarious.)


For all of March, I will be sharing a daily picture of what makes me happy. Although, if I do fall asleep from the 6 am operating room set-ups and the 8 pm laundry, please just let it go.

Today's happiness...

Need I say more?