Monday, May 31, 2010

Should I Be Worried?

There are times when I think I should either put the book down or get up from the computer. Times when I hear things like this from the boys room...

"And now! It's time for human versus gravity."

No good can come from that statement.

Or when I hear Monkey start crying, followed by Bug saying, "Shh. What percent are you hurt?"

I'm pretty sure if they need me, they'll let me know.

Monkey comes and grabs me, leading me to the bathroom. "Look at my friend," he says, pointing in the mirror.

Surely, we can come up with some better friends than that.

Last week, Monkey underwent (for the 358,932 time) a meltdown at the dinner table. When we could get him calmed down enough to understand him, we asked what was wrong.

"I don't want to turn into a frog on Monday!" he blubbered and melted in a pool of tears again.

No amount of reassurance seems to persuade him this would not happen. What are we doing as parents to instill this fear into him?

The conversation that sums up my kids' feelings about shopping.

Me: You kids were really good in the store.
Bug: Good enough to not go to another one?

Nothing like your own children to make you wonder what kind of parent you are.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Blog Love

I've been a terrible blog friend the last several months.

I've received awards, and haven't acknowledged them at all. I'd like to say I've been busy, but that excuse only carries so far. But believe me, I'm going to milk it for all it's worth.

My deficiency in acknowledging awards does not correlate at all with my excitement in getting them. It makes my day.

So, I'm going to step up and be efficient!

Gina sent this darling blog award my way.

The rules for this show of blog love is to share 10 things I love.

1. Summer. I can not get over how much I love that it is warm outside. That the sun is up before I leave for work and is still up when I leave for home. That we can run around in bare feet. This is my favorite time of year!

2. My new dress. This deserves its very own post. But I have a new found love of dresses.

3. Pink toenails. I let my toenails go au natural during the winter months when my feet were constantly covered with thick socks and boots. But with the warm weather comes sandals and flip flops. So I'm back to my pink nails. And I smile every time I see them.

4. Lists. There is nothing that brings the same satisfaction as making a list and then getting to cross things off of it. Lists make me feel organized, efficient, and thorough. It may just be a mirage, but at least while I'm making my list and crossing things off it, that's how I feel.

5. Farmer's markets. It's that time of year again. I love strolling past all the vendors, looking at the vegetables and flowers and fresh breads. I love seeing things like rhubarb, and purple asparagus, and organic arugula and buying what is available and coming home and being inspired by what I bought.

6. Dusk. There is nothing like dusk in the summer. We get the boys out of the house and stroll down the sidewalk, talking, catching up on the day, and enjoying that beautiful, transient time of day.

7. Peeps. I think this stems from my love of marshmallows in general. But I love Peeps. Not only are they marshmallows, but they are cute shapes in different colors. And now they have them for almost every holiday, not just Easter!

8. Antique stores. Oh, I love antique stores. Even if I don't end up buying anything, I usually just have to pop in and look. It feels like things I get from an antique store for my home just mean more than things I get from a chain store. And since the items usually require a little elbow grease, it also feels very personal.

9. The smell of my boys coming after a bath. Okay, it's true. There are times, no matter how clean they are, that little boys just have a smell somewhat reminiscent of wet dog. I don't understand this at all. But after a bath, when the smell of daycare and the classroom and the cardboard box fort have been washed away, the smell of their clean hair just makes me feel all soft inside.

10. The beach. Just give me a beach. I'm not really that picky. It's my favorite place in the world. I always thought I would end up living by one...and now I live in Iowa.

I'm going to pass this award onto...

Julie at He Who Laughs Last
Rita at Fighting Off Frumpy
Leigh at Leigh vs Laundry
Crissy at Life as a CEO
Heather at Theta Mom

I received this from Kim, longer ago than I can admit.

For this, I'm supposed to list 5 things I love. I'm going to make this 5 different things, just to make this harder on myself, and realize why procrastination never pays.

1. Mangoes. I think I avoided this fruit for a very long time because of a bad experience or impression as a child. I can't even remember the details. But now, I feel like I can't get enough. Fresh mangoes, mango juice, and dried mangoes. Yum, yum, yum!

2. Post It Notes. This things are great. I've got three stacks of different colors on my desk right now. I write random thoughts and just slap them on the wall...silly things the boys say, thoughts for posts, quotes I love. Then, when I have time, I can take them down. No tape, no giant sheet of paper. Just pure brilliance.

3. Scrub hats. Okay, I don't actually have any yet. I'm in the process of ordering them for when I start back in the operating room in July. But I'm sure in love with the idea of scrub hats. Not only do they come in nearly any darling pattern I want, no one will ever see my hair at work again!

4. Hydrangeas. These are by far my favorite flower. I had them at my wedding. And the great thing about Iowa is they actually grow here. I haven't planted any yet, due to the yard still needing some landscaping before the plants go in. But I've already picked out the perfect place.

5. Popcorn. Yes, I realize that this is the third food I've mentioned so far, but I'm convinced there is no better snack than popcorn. It's versatile, it's cheap, it's quick to make. And it's just down right delicious. In fact, I'm going to go make some as soon as I hit publish.

I'm passing this one to these great bloggy friends

Karen at A Peek at Karen's World
Gina at Namaste By Day
Colleen at Cheap Wine and Cookies
Brittany at Molly Lou Gifts
Sandy at It's a Jungle Out There

From Brittany, one of my newest blogging friends, came this blog award.

This one asks that I share 7 things about myself. Whew, this is turning into a lot of work. But, after all the blog love I've received, it's really hard to complain. It would be like complaining that my wallet is too small for my hundreds and my diamond shoes are too tight! (Bonus if you know the reference!)

1. Once I start a book, it is next to impossible for me to put it down. It doesn't matter what other things I have to do, how busy I am, how late it is. I just can't stop reading until the book is done. I have no ability to pace myself or make the book last longer.

2. On the other hand, I have no ability to stay awake during movies. I don't think I've seen the end of a movie in, oh, probably years. In fact, I haven't really seen that many middles of movies either. This drives Hubster crazy. But, seriously, I'm really tired, and holding still and relaxing in front of the TV is sleep inducing.

3. I have such a strong dislike of doing dishes that it prevents me from cooking. I actually love cooking. I love new recipes and trying new food. But most the time, all I can think about is that I'll have to clean and wash everything I use, so I'd rather just order pizza and use paper plates.

4. I've read Pride and Prejudice once a year for the past 7-8 years. One year, I read it twice. The story just never gets old.

5. I have a complete irrational fear of potlucks. I hear the word and I get sweaty palms. Or get-togethers or company picnics where people say, "Oh, just bring a side dish." I panic. What am I supposed to make? What qualifies as a side dish? How much should I make? Will people even like this? What if someone else makes the exact same thing? I hate, hate, hate potlucks.

6. I have never had a pedicure. Except the ones I give myself. In fact, the only manicure I've ever had was for my wedding.

7. It's my dream to find a historic home, or an old farm house and restore it. I just love the thought process and the decision making. This idea, unfortunately, stressed Hubster out. Just fixing up our current home stresses him out. But me, I love it!

This award, I'm going to give to...

Liz at Eternal Lizdom
Kim at The Mommy Machine
Trina at Trinabug's Life
Megan at Twinsomnia
Melissa at Random Ramblings

Every one of the bloggers I mentioned are amazing bloggers. If you have a moment, stop by and say hello. I just can't get over what an amazing community this is, the unbelievable women that are part of it, and the fantastic friends that I've made.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nine Year Journey

Yesterday marked nine years of marriage for Hubster and me.

I was too busy actually celebrating it to have any time to write about it yesterday. Between begging my way out of work early, buying a cardigan to accent my new dress (which is fabulous, by the way), locking myself out of my car, then rushing home to get ready, I was rather busy during the day. Then between a romantic dinner at a great restaurant, an amazing dessert, and a movie, the evening and night were equally busy.

It sounds strange to say nine years. Because nine years is a long time. But it feels like those years are slipped by, no, raced by in a heartbeat, and I'm still the same young girl in a white dress walking towards the love of my life.

I could write about the things that we've done during our marriage. But I've done that. I could post some of the reasons I absolutely adore Hubster. But I've done that. I could write about our wedding, and how grateful I am that how things start off don't predict how things end up. But I've also done that. I could write about our relationship and what we do to keep it so healthy. But, you guessed it...I've done that too.

So, what to write about?

Well, since nine years is a long time (and I think it sounds like such a long time because next year will be ten years and that is a landmark anniversary, and we sure aren't old enough for that!)...anyways.

Since nine years is a long time, I should have learned some things about marriage and relationships along the way. While I'm not an expert, I think I have learned a few things. I would say that I'll share with you the top ten things I learned, but I don't know how many I'll come up with, so we'll just go with the flow.

~Your partner will change with time. You will change with time. Expect it.

~No matter how great the start of the relationship way, no matter how passionately in love you are, eventually that "new-relationship feeling," it goes away. You might not get dizzy and lightheaded anymore when he touches the small of your back, your heart rate might not skip a beat when he kisses you. This doesn't mean that the love you share is any less. Only more comfortable.

~Friendship should be the basis of your relationship. There will be times when you don't feel romantic. You should always have the friendship to go back to.

~Marriage can be tough. You should always have Something Bigger Than You to rely on. Because, I promise, there will be times when love isn't enough. (Which gets back to friendship, as well.)

~Between the kids, the jobs, the house, the relatives, it will be easy to forget about your relationship. Time together won't just happen. Take the time, make the effort to work on your relationship. Schedule time together.

~Realize what matters. There are times when Hubster stacking papers by his bed or squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle drives me crazy. But does it matter? No. Be willing to let those things go, so you can focus on what does matter.

~Be interested in what they are interested in. I used to care less about sports. But I learned to watch (and now love) football. Hubster was not a reader, but started reading books that I couldn't stop talking about. It gives us even more time together and more things to bond over.

~Recognize the need for space. You don't have to spend every single second together. Spending time apart doesn't mean you love each other less. Hubster loves golf. I've chosen to not take up golf and go with him, because that's his time. He always comes back refreshed and happy. I blog. Hubster leaves me alone while I blog (and he has also decided to not read my I'm free to say whatever I want about him.)

I really tried to come up with nine, because nine things in nine years seemed good. But right now, only eight are coming to mind.

So, there you have it. My insight into marriage after nine years of it.

But I can't leave it there.

I have to say that I'm a better person because of my relationship with Hubster. While it seems surreal that we've already reached this point in our marriage, looking back, I feel that I've always known him. Sometimes, I feel that I've even rewritten my pre-Hubster memories to include him.

I'm a braver person because of Hubster. There are so many things I wanted to do, but I don't think I would have done any of them before, because the thought of doing them alone was terrifying. Now, no matter what I end up doing, I know that I won't do it alone. That thought alone gives me courage.

Thanks, Hubster (even if you don't read this.) Thank you for coming along in this journey with me. I couldn't ask for a better travel partner.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Front Doors of Iowa: Part 1

People seem to like their color here in Iowa.

In Utah, I felt like I was surrounded on every side by monotonous, uniform subdivisions. (Not that there's anything wrong with a's just all the houses tend to look similar.)

There significantly fewer subdivisions in our town in Iowa. Instead there are more what I call neighborhoods.

And in those neighborhoods, people are not afraid to show a little personality. Or a lot.

Instead of uniform brown, cream, and white, there is blue, purple, and yellow.

So, as my happiness photo this week, I bring you the first installment of "Front Doors of Iowa."

Because it's impossible not to smile when driving past these home.

There are lots more...I just need to get my camera out.

Stop by Leigh vs. Laundry for The Happiness Project and post a photo of what makes you happy.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Super-Mom Moment

Yesterday, I felt like a supermom.

No, let me clarify.

Yesterday, I was a supermom.

I woke up early for a six hour shift at the hospital, and was home by noon. Hubster left to go help with a Habitat for Humanity build, and so the boys were mine for the afternoon.

I've mentioned it before, but when the weather is wonderful, it is hard for me to stay put. I want to be out and doing. So the boys and I headed downtown. We went to the playground, where we ran around for an hour. Then we shared a gelato and played some more. Well, Bug and I shared gelato. Monkey could barely be convinced away from the playground, even for cold creamy mango and strawberry. We then strolled to the library where, finally, some books I requested were in!

Even after that, no one was ready to go home. We decided to go explore a greenhouse we had seen on one of our drives. We wandered through greenhouses, decided on some beautiful chocolate coleus to add to the flower pots on the front porch. They also had snowball bushes, which I have been dying to have. The price was reasonable, so after talking it over with Bug, I decided to get one. (Yes, I need to justify my purchases with my 7 year old son.)

We then went home, where I did dishes, swept, mopped, vacuumed, and dusted. Did you catch that? I actually dusted.

The rest of the day was finished out by playing baseball in the backyard, cooking blueberry waffles for an al fresco dinner on our new picnic table, (Yes, I love breakfast for dinner!), board games, story time, bedtime for the boys, exercising for me, and then a movie with Hubster.

I went to bed late, but feeling completely amazing.

I was truly a supermom yesterday.

I am absolutely exhausted today.

I've always set very high expectations for myself. I had this idea that I could be all things, all at once. That I could be mother, doctor, wife, and myself all at once. And not just that, but I could do all things equally and excellently.

I've come to realize that it's not possible.

Trying to do everything, things slip through the cracks. Yes, there are days like yesterday, where I feel close to invincible, no one fights, no one yells, everyone eats all their food and goes to bed on time. But most the time, days aren't like that. When work is more demanding, things at home suffer. When home is requiring my attention, things are work slip.

The important thing is finding that delicate balance that allows enough time for each area of our lives or recognizing which thing we have to let go of.

The other thing I've learned to recognize at the people who allow me my supermom moments. I wouldn't call them sidekicks...they are superheros of their own accord. Hubster, who continues the baseball game while I cook dinner. Bug, who willingly, without a single word of complaint, cleaned up all the toys in the playroom and cleared the table. Monkey, who ate all his dinner.

I'm not a super mom. I'm part of a super family.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

So, about yesterday...

I have a hard time explaining to people why I blog.

Things I've heard about blogging...So, isn't it just like Facebook? or What? You mean, you don't actually know any of these people? or Aren't you busy enough without blogging?

If you are not a blogger, it's hard to explain that it's not like Facebook. And although I haven't physically met any of you (except you, mom!), I feel like I do know you.

Sure, I might have more time to do other things, like clean toilets, there is no way I'm giving up blogging.

Today has shown me that.

Trying to go to sleep yesterday, all I could think about is how I shouldn't have published yesterday's post. First of all, it will make my mom worry more than she already does. Second, I shouldn't unleash my bad days on the blogosphere; it hasn't done anything to deserve that.

But maybe, more than anything, I was just plain embarrassed.

For the love of all that is holy, I'm a effing doctor. I should suck it up and deal and stop moaning about the whole thing.

I thought about erasing the post, but that would have involved getting out of bed. So I let it stand.

And this is why I love blogging.

I don't know you. But that hasn't stopped you from sending me words of encouragement and support, from sympathizing with me, and for being wonderful blog-friends.

Because that is what I call you to Hubster, "So, my blog-friend said...." He knows what I mean.

It's strange, but the people I've "met" from blogging have become better friends than many I have in real life. I guess that could be read as I have a pathetic social life (which may or may not be true.) But I think I speaks to the amazing people that are part of this community.

And I just wanted to say thanks.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Approaching The Burn

I have just over a month to go before intern year is over, and the only thought I have is I don't know if I can keep doing this for three more years.

Between the third and fourth year of medical school and one year of intern year, I've already been doing this for three years.

And I'm not sure I've come out better on the other side of those years.

Right at this moment, I'm so beat-down and burnt out that it's hard to care about anything. I'm tired. It's hard to sleep at night, because all I can think about is that I have to get up and go to work. Again. And again. And again.

It's been months since I've had two days in a row off.

I know what the signs of burn-out are, and I'm pretty sure I'm checking off the boxes. My performance at work is suffering. My motivation to study is minimal. I'm just doing what is required of me and not much more.

And the thought that I'll keep feeling this way for three more years makes me just want to quit right now.

Except I can't. Because someone has to pay the mortgage and bring home food.

As I was having a mini-meltdown last night, Hubster made a remark about regretting going to the particular medical school I went to. I told him it wasn't the school I regretted, it was medicine in general. I've become a statistic, one of the many doctors that say, given the chance, they wouldn't do it over again.

I resent what my education and training have done to me.

I like to think of myself as an optimistic person. I like to think that I'm an idealist, a dreamer, a hoper. But I'm not sure how much of that person is left. My training has been the optimism and joy right out of me.

There is a reason the depression rate and suicidal ideation are so high among physicians (Great article about it here.) The path through this is difficult. Like a fellow resident-blogger wrote once, "When it is bad, it is very bad. And when it is good, mostly, it's just OK."

But don't worry. I'm okay. I may be burned out, but I'm not depressed. I may not be happy at work. But I still have plenty to have happy about.

See, things at home, well, they are the best they've ever been. Even if Monkey is going through a particularly naughty phase that includes dumping all the drill bits under the deck. The boys are happy and healthy. Hubster and I have reached a new level of communication and love in our relationship. Coming home every day feels like reaching harbor after a journey. I feel like a different person at home. One that has nothing to worry about except being tackled during a game of tag.

Maybe it is the happiness at home that makes going to work so very hard.

There is a resident that I'm working with right now that is still so happy and thoughtful and energetic. I don't know how he does it. Maybe his training up to this point has been different than mine. And then I am envious. Envious that he is happy, when I just can't seem to be. Envious that he is content, while I am trying to survive. Envious that he is still optimistic, idealistic, and hopeful.

But there are times, even when I'm not sure how I can keep going, there are small moments, that I think, maybe, the old girl I was is still in there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I've been so busy making the thing that made me happy today, that I almost didn't have time to post it.

But 8 hours later...

...Happiness is...

the chance to eat alfresco. At our new, blue, picnic table.

Although not today. Because the stain is still wet.

The citronella candles are ready, the table is (almost) ready, and soon we will be enjoying dinner with views like this.

Stop by Leigh vs. Laundry for The Happiness Project and post a photo of what makes you happy.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

A rabbit, a mouse, and some opinions

I realized that I have been completely delinquent in my book reviews. Since the time I posted my last review, I've read 3 more books.

Two of those books, I'm going to talk about at once.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and The Tale of Desperaux, by Kate DiCamillo.

I guess it's really not fair to lump this two books into one post, just because they are by the same author. But the real reason I'm doing it is because my feelings about both books are very similar.

After Bug and I read Because of Winn Dixie, we were very excited to read more of DiCamillo's books. She is an amazing writer. Her stories are captivating.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane follows the adventures of Edward, a large china rabbit. He is the toy of a little girl in a well-to-do family. And he thinks very highly of himself, so much so that he is annoyed with the attitudes of those around him, which he finds condescending. He wants nothing more than to be admired. It is obvious that Edward is about to be toppled from his high horse. After becoming lost in the sea, then in a dump, passing hands from a fisherman to a hobo to a backwoods boy, Edward slowly changes. He comes to understand that love comes from unexpected sources.

DiCamillo's metaphors are beautiful. This book made Bug's and my heart ache along with Edward's. The final chapter, I'll admit, made tears run down my cheeks.

The Tale of Desperaux, a story of a mouse, a rat, a servant girl, soup, and a princess named Pea, is intriguing. Desperaux, a small mouse with large ears and bigger dreams, falls in love with a human princess and because of this love, is banished from the mouse kingdom. When his beloved princess is captured by a vengeful rat and a desperate servant girl, Desperaux faces all his fears to rescue her.

The story plays with light and dark, both literally and metaphorically are well-done. Desperaux is the hero that you can get behind. He is good, and brave, and, well, like the author herself would say, maybe even slightly ridiculous.

While Bug and I enjoyed both stories, and I feel that they were excellent books for us to read together, I don't think that either lived up to Because of Winn Dixie. Both lacked the haunting writing that pulls you in. The honesty, the pain, the beauty, while approached, were not quite as gracefully obtained.

In all of her books, DiCamillo shows that she's not afraid of children. She's not scared to talk about big things, about fear, about death, about abandonment. She does so openly, but in ways that doesn't offend childish sensibilities. All of her books have given us the chance to talk about things we wouldn't have otherwise.

I do want to read more of DiCamillo's books, but after reading the synopsis of several, I think the stories may be too complex and the subject too mature for Bug at this moment. So, we are holding off, and moving towards other books are the moment.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Smarter One

Monday marked a huge milestone in our house.

Hubster took the DAT (Dental Admission Test), the first huge hurdle in going to dental school.

Actually, the biggest step on this journey was the decision to go down this path at all.

Hubster was one of the top students in his high school, receiving a scholarship to a local college. But he couldn't stand the community and area, so he moved away from home to Salt Lake City. Instead of going to college right away, as his mother hoped, he worked odd jobs and then started doing construction, framing houses.

Being the incredibly smart person he is, it didn't take him long to realize that without education, he could possibly spend the rest of his life framing houses.

He enrolled in the local community college and started to work on a major in his favorite subject from high school: Physics.

Along the way, we met, got married, had kids, moved eleventy billion times, etc, etc, etc. Through all this, Hubster stayed in school, eventually transferring from the community college to the state university I was attending.

It took him nearly 9 years, but he eventually graduated with a double major in math and physics. Only to be met with the question of "What now?" Everyone who knew us asked what you could do with a math and physics major, what Hubster was interested in, what now?

And Hubster didn't know. He liked his current job, but there wasn't a lot of room for upward mobility without a PhD.

I always suggested, he being the smarter, more outgoing one of us, that he should go to medical school. His reply to that? "Oh yes. You look so happy."


And then some how, over a conversation over a random dinner, the idea of dental school came up. And it was like a light went off. He immediately enrolled back in school to complete some prerequisites.

Did you read that? After NINE years of college, he enrolled in school again!!

When I tell people that Hubster is going to dental school, they grin. "You're right," they say. "He is smarter than you."

And for the last 5 months, he has been studying intensively for the DAT, needing great scores to have a chance at getting in. (Not that we (meaning I) have any doubts.)

How Hubster had looked for the last 5 months

It's been a trying time for us. I've been working 80 hours weeks with 30 hour shifts, while he's spent nearly every day since January over textbooks and review books. And I'm pretty sure this was the easy part of the process.

Hubster took the DAT Monday. (After he tossed and turned all night and then woke up at 3:45 am, too nervous to sleep.)

He came home with a huge grin on his face.

And this is part where I get to brag about my husband. That studying completely paid off, with a composite score in the 99th percentile.

He really is the smarter one.

I'm so proud of him. Not only has he supported me through my aspirations and trials, but he has continued to pursue his own dreams, despite all the crazy looks from his friends and family that he is still in school over 15 years after graduating high school. I'm glad that I now have the chance to support and cheer him on.

And he has promised to finally clean up all the papers on his side of the bed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Walk in the Woods

Happiness is...

Mother's Day walks through my favorite park...

Hunting for jack-in-the-pulpits...


Happiness is easy to find this week. Easier than finding the jack-in-the-pulpits, that's for sure.

Visit Leigh vs. Laundry to join The Happiness Project and post a photo of what makes you happy.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Tulip Time

I've been busy this last weekend, learning words like "bergemeester," "kaas," "klokkenspel," and "klompen."

I've also been enjoying sites like these...

And, yes, I'm still here in Iowa.

We were at the 75th Annual Tulip Time in Pella, Iowa.

It was cold, breezy, and drizzling the morning we were supposed to go. But I was stubborn, and Hubster was obliging, so we made the nearly 2 hour drive, despite the weather.

I'm glad we did.

It turns out Tulip Time is a really, really big deal. And for good reason.

Pella, settled by Dutch immigrants and steeped in Dutch culture, is one of the most gorgeous towns I've ever been to. I want to live there now.

The streets are clean, the shops charming, the whole setting picturesque.

In fact, almost too much so. It feels a little surreal, almost theme-park in character. That may have been due to the hundreds of people dressed in Dutch garb.

Street sweepers, a Tulip Time tradition

And not just the people in the parades, but people in the shops, people in the crowds, people everywhere.

We enjoyed the tulips (even though the early warm weather meant that the tulips were just past prime, there were still enough to oh-and-awe over).

Yes, there is dirt on Monkey's face. I don't have time to Photoshop it off, so you get the real deal.

We enjoyed the windmills.

We enjoyed the parades. We enjoyed the wooden shoes.

So much that I had to get a pair to bring home. C'mon. They're wooden shoes. I had to get some!

It didn't rain on us. In fact, the sun broke through as we shared a funnel cake and watched Dutch dancers.

Even Monkey got in to the Dutch spirit.

Not sure what this dance is call, though...Don't think it's traditional.

It was a long drive. It was a cold, breezy day. It was absolutely worth it.

Especially because I have my own wooden shoes.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Last Eight Years

Growing up, I wasn't sure how much I wanted to be a parent. I was pretty sure that I wanted kids, at some point. But I had big plans, and wanted to do so much, that initially any thoughts of being a mother were not a priority.

Even after Hubster and I decided to start our family, and I was pregnant with Bug, I had my own views on motherhood. Yes, I wanted to be a mom. But I wasn't going to let it get in my way, slow me down, or hinder me in anyway.

Those were my initial thoughts on being a mom...

Until 4:54 am, on a early summer morning nearly 8 years ago.

Holding my newborn son tight, tears running down my face, I felt every tie I had to anything else loosen. Every pull in other directions weaken. All my priorities, hopes, future plans... everything fell to pieces and reformed into the face of my son.

That pull only strengthened on a late summer afternoon 4 years later, when Monkey was born.

The love I have for these two boys surprises me nearly every day. Everything I do, it's really for them. All my hopes and plans are no longer for me, but for them.

I'm not the perfect parent, not by any means. I scold, yell, lose patience more than I should. I'm gone more than I want.

If I really think about it, it wasn't that my thoughts and feelings about motherhood changed. It was me. I changed when these children entered my life.

The last eight years have changed me. They have challenged me, frustrated me, exhausted me, and delighted me. They have been full of fatigue, long nights, temper tantrums, mile stones, bedtime stories, birthdays, and joy.

I'm grateful each day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Endings

I realized something about myself while watching LOST last night.

And no, it's not that I'm incredibly nerdy, and love thinking about the space-time continuum, or string theory, or throwing out facts about dominant hemispheres (did you know that the majority of left handed people are still left-hemisphere dominant?).

All that, I already knew.

What I realized last night was that I love happy endings.

As I watched in horror as more characters tragically died (no spoilers in case you're a fan, and haven't seen it yet), I realized that all I wanted was for them to escape and be okay.

I'm a happily-ever-after type of girl.

I hated the third Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes, At World's End had the shocking ending that you didn't see coming. Yes, I realized how delicious Orlando Bloom can be.

But it wasn't how it was supposed to end. Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan were supposed to end up together. After watching three whole movies, I don't want to find out that the love story I've been swept up in didn't actually happen. Would it have been predictable? Maybe. But so much more satisfying.

There were many critics of J. K. Rowling, saying that she should have killed off Harry Potter in The Deathly Hallows. It would have been a more interesting story, a more unexpected ending, a less cliched "good conquers evil." I, for one, am glad that she didn't. Harry Potter had been my literary companion for years. I don't know if I would have ever been able to pick up the series again, if I knew the unwilling hero died at the end.

Unhappy, shocking endings, or the boy doesn't get the girl, or the hero doesn't save the day. Maybe the critics are right. Maybe it is more realistic. But isn't that the point?

There are plenty of sad stories out there. I work in a place were behind every single door is a another sad story. Some stories so sad, with no chance of a happy ending, that they take my breath away and leave me reeling. Life itself is so full of sad stories, with unexpected endings. I don't need real life from my movies, TV shows, and books.

If heroes and main characters aren't allowed their happy endings, what chance is there for the rest of us?

Maybe happily-ever-after is predictable. Maybe happily-ever-after is cliche.

Who cares?

I want my happy ending.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bare Feet

Today is one of those days were it's pretty hard to feel happy about much. We've had some disappointments and some set-backs. The stress is pretty much at an all time high.

Today is one of those days where I would rather just start listing my stresses and problems. I want to rant and rave and vent. But despite doing a little bit of that already over the dinner table, I don't feel any better.

So I'm going to do something else. And something the same. I'm going to continue to my weekly photo of something that makes me happy.

And this week, happiness has definitely been the ability to run around in bare feet outside, enjoying the lush warm weather.

Ah, I feel better already. Just a little.

Stop by Leigh vs. Laundry for The Happiness Project, the weekly opportunity to post a photo of something that makes you happy.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Take Home Points: Vol 2

There are times when I feel that I haven't learned anything during my intern year. It's been ten months, and I still find myself wondering what I've learned. Most of the year was spent trying to keep my head above water. I spent my time floundering about in an awkward dog-paddle instead of immersing myself in scholarly study.

Then, I rotated through the surgical intensive care unit for the second time. I should have realized that the fact I didn't throw up on the way to work the day of my first call day meant that I had learned something. The first night I was on call, back in September, when my colleagues signed out their patients at the end of the day and left for the night, I was so scared, I wanted to throw myself at them, hang onto their leg and scream, "Don't leave me." I just managed in suppressing this urge.

It took me last month to realize I had actually learned something. It took me 24 hours in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) (my place of residence during the lovely month of May) to realize that I had learned how to learn.

Sometimes, it is all I can do to not share everything I've learned with pretty much anyone who will listen. I do realize that, while important, most things learned during an intern year do not make for good conversation topics. For example...Transfusion parameters in critically ill patients. Fluid resuscitation guidelines in sepsis. Antibiotic prophylaxis for neurosurgical patients. Symptom-based benzodiazepine dosing for alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Methods of maintaining cerebral perfusion pressure. It is dinner topics such as these that have lead to a significant shortage of dinner guests. Although, if you're interested, just let me know. I'll send the articles your way.

But I have learned other things. Things you might call "life lessons." Take home points. A way to summarize a month's worth of experience. Things that may possibly be interesting to the general public. Or those reading this. That's yet to be seen.

It started with trauma service in December. These stood out to me more than others.

But every service has its lessons.

So, here are my take home points for the last several months.


January: Radiology

Don't smoke.

I'm not saying this in a preachy or judgemental way. I've heard the spiel that smokers are starting to feel like social outcasts or discriminated against. But seriously, Don't Smoke. Radiology showed me what can grow in the lungs, the necks, the mouths, the noses, the throats of people who smoke. And even if it isn't a giant cancer that carves out of home in the right upper lobe of the lung, it's the emphysema. The chronic bronchitis. The turning of beautiful, clear lungs into hazy, blebby air sacs.

Don't smoke.

February: Internal Medicine

1. Don't smoke.

It's not just the lungs. It's the vessels. People who have lost circulation to their feet. People who are more prone to strokes and heart attacks. People, where it doesn't matter how healthy they eat, how much they exercise (if they are able), what vitamins they take. None of this matters, because it is overshadowed by the damage done by the cigarette in their hand.

2. Take your medicine.

I know. This also sounds preachy. It isn't' meant to. If it makes you feel better, I'm going into a field where the chance I ever write a prescription for anyone is next to none. However, if you've taken the time to go see a doctor, and the doctor thinks that you should take a medicine, you probably should. I know that you say you'll manage your diabetes through diet and exercise, that you will get your cholesterol and blood pressure down the same way. I know that you don't want to finish that course of antibiotics. I'm sure it's a inconvenience to take pills for your heart/kidney/lungs/...etc, etc. But we're not handing out medications because we think it's fun. It's because you probably need them. Half the people I took care of where admitted due to issues regarding "non-compliance." Blood pressures out of control, diabetic complications, recurrent infections. Please, just take your medications.

March: Anesthesiology

Wow, I love my job.

April: SICU

This is probably the most important lesson of all.

Take the time to talk to your loved ones about your wishes for the end of your life. Talk to your parents about what they want. Talk to your spouse about what you want. Does your mother or father want aggressive management? Or do they feel that, should the worst happen, they would rather limit their time in a hospital, on a ventilator, or undergoing procedures. I'm not going to say which is best. It depends on the person, the disease process, and the situation. But talk about it. Let your family know.

There is nothing worse than a disagreement between family members about how to proceed with treatment. Bedside arguments about withdrawing care or continuing shouldn't happen. It's already such a horrible situation. The worst thing imaginable has happened to these families. They should be able to be there for each other, a source of comfort and support. Don't be the next Terri Schiavo. Even if you are young and healthy, even if your parents are young and healthy. Talk about it.


Okay, I'll admit. None of these make really great party conversations either. But at least it's better than discussing the indications for selecting a vasopressor. Although, skimming through this, I'm starting to get a better grasp of my social awkwardness.

I've also learned that eating fried food at 11:30 pm will keep you up all night with heartburn.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day

Not May Day, as in help. But May Day, as in May 1. Flower baskets on door knobs, May pole dancing, and Maifest at the nearby German heritage based town.

After a heavy rainstorm yesterday, complete with hail, thunder that made the boys cling to my legs and shake like leaves, and a several-hour power outage that had us playing Scrabble by candle light, it was wonderful to wake up to sunshine and a bright blue sky.

I'm trying really hard to be involved in local activities, see local attractions, and do whatever is available. So after I heard about the May Day festivities occurring at a nearby town (from the dental hygienist at my last dental appointment, no less), I was determined we would go.

The boys weren't sure at first, but words like "parade" and "treats" enticed them out of bed, into their clothes, and into the car. I used similar words on Hubster, as well.

They ended up being glad we went. After all, it's hard to not be excited when lederhosen-clad men in wagons pulled by ponies throw handfuls of candy at you.

(Okay, sometimes even candy doesn't make Monkey happy.)

After the candy-fest, um, I mean, parade, was over, we watched the Maipole dancers.

Hubster had done a May Pole dance in elementary school. But I doubt he got to wear authentic dresses and flower wreaths.

The festivities over, we wandered the streets of the historic village, snacking on fresh kettle corn. It's a good thing Hubster was with me, otherwise I would have dragged the boys into every single one of the darling shops. Instead, I settled for taking pictures of almost every single darling shop.

This same town is having a Renaissance Festival in a few weeks. I've already told Hubster and the boys we will definitely be going.

What's a German festival without a giant barrel?

MaiFest was a perfect way to celebrate the spring that is already starting to feel like summer.