Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween is Here

It's Halloween!

We've done a lot for Halloween this month.

We've decorated...

We've picked pumpkins...

We've carved those pumpkins...

We've gotten lost in corn mazes...

We've jumped on the top of hay bales...

We've gone to university rowing competitions...yes, we did that this morning...

We've dressed up...nearly every day for the last two weeks...

Monkey informs me that he is a dragon-ogre-swimming-pool-monster for Halloween...
what ever that is...
and Bug refused to have pictures taken of him in his Karate Kid costume.

And now we're ready to go trick-or-treating, stay up too late, get all jumped up on a sugar high, and fully regret it tomorrow morning.

Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Or is it Jack O'Lanterns? Jackolanterns? I'm not sure.

As a young family, we don't have a lot of traditions.

But one that we do have is carving pumpkins and trying to out-do the pumpkin carving that took place last year.

Okay, that's actually Hubster's tradition. My tradition is to find a pattern that I think I can carve in less than 15 minutes.

I think we were both successful.

So, here, for your viewing pleasure, are the pumpkins for 2010

And be sure to catch the pumpkins of years past: 2009, 2008, and even earlier (2008 is my favorite!)

There is of course, my pumpkin (yeah for me for not choosing flowers, a theme I've fallen back on for several years!)

Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty

And then we always let the boys pick our patterns for their pumpkins. Which Hubster gets to carve. Because my attention span is shot by this time.

Monkey wanted everything...a tiger! a lion! Curious George! Batman! He finally settled on this...Rocket from Little Einsteins.

We're going on a trip, in our favorite rocket ship...

Bug went with his newest favorite item: Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb.

It's Perry! Perry the Platypus...!

(It's okay if you don't know anything about either of this shows. It actually probably means that you're normal, or that your children watch much more educational television than ours do.)

Hubster, who has seriously mad skills when it comes to carving pumpkins, had unfortunately limited selection. Most pumpkin pattern websites have limited what patterns they have, unless you want to buy them. Which we don't, because we are cheap. However, he found one that he thought would challenge him. It must have, since it was 1 am when he woke me up to come and look.


I'm telling you, the man had mad skills!

Now, the pumpkins are Vaseline-d up, and proudly displayed on our porch.

On of the best things about this tradition...I don't have to find storage space for them.

Visit Leigh vs Laundry for The Happiness Project and post a picture of something that makes you happy!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dinner Conversations

(Update: There were problems with the video earlier. Those have (hopefully) been fixed.)

This went on for over an hour. Non-stop.

Even though there were moments I thought I would go crazy, it's still one of the cutest things ever.

The nice part about these conversations is that little is required of me except to yes, "Really?" "Uh-huh" and repeat back part of his last statement.

But seriously, this goes on all day.

(And yes, Bug won't feed himself. We have to step in and practically force-feed the kid. But hey, he's still on the growth curve, so we're doing something right.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All I Need

Happiness is this...

And this...

Sometimes I forget that really, this is all I need.

Leigh at Leigh vs. Laundry postponed her Happiness Project this week until Thursday, but I'm still posting today. Because, well, just look at them.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Family Portrait

This was our attempt to take a family picture for Christmas cards.

Apparently, we can't all be happy.

Four separate attempts lead to the same results. I think we'll use a different picture.

In other news, I'm the featured follower over at "
Life as a CEO." Go check out Chrissy's great blog.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Change of Pace

For the last two weeks, I've been on a different rotation, one that doesn't require me to be in the operating room. While I don't enjoy the work, the change of pace has been wonderful.

It has allowed for more sleep. It has allowed for breakfast with my family.

It has allowed time for blogging (thus the increased posting the last two weeks.)

It has allowed time for movie night and novel reading.

It has allowed time for walks in the park and enjoying the fall leaves.

It has allowed time for pumpkin picking.

And it all ends after today.

While I'm glad to be done with this type of work, I am going to miss the slower pace and the things we were able to do with the time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Story of a Fish

It's time to introduce you to the other "member" of the family.

Everyone, this is Rosy.

She's a goldfish.

She's the only pet this family has ever had.

Nope. Scratch that.

She's the only pet we've had that survived more than 3 days.

Living in apartments, pets weren't really an option. At least fluffy, cuddly, shedding pets weren't an option. Fish, on the other hand...well, does anyone actually even count them?

When Bug turned six years old, we decided it was finally time to introduce him to the concept of responsibility and all that stuff that is supposed to come along with owning a pet. So we got a tank, a filter, gavel, a fake plant, a whole bunch of chemicals, and such. Then we set out to get a fish.

We first tried a national pet store chain. There, we were told that we would have to bring in a sample of our water, and they would test whether it was conducive to aquatic life forms. Apparently, we failed this test, because they refused to sell us a fish. Seriously? It's a fish.

So, we turned to our good old fall-back, Wal-Mart, who has no apparent scruples about who they sell fish to. We purchased a couple of cheap goldfish and took them home.

Well, it turns out there may have been something to that failed water test. Despite our best efforts, all fish were dead in two days.

We were not to be discouraged and went back to Wal-Mart. They, no joke, have a fish exchange policy, that if your fish dies in the first several days, they will exchange it for another one. Free. I can't remember if we had to produce the dead fish for evidence or not. But we left with new set of gold fish.

Same result.

We decided to change technique. We got a different type of fish.

Same result.

We had no idea why. We were obsessive about checking the water temperature, about testing the balance of the water with little chemical strips. We had combed in the Internet for solutions. We remained clueless.

But this time, Bug was discouraged and sad. He said we weren't meant to have pets. I wasn't keen on trying again, since I would look at those little fish and just think about how they were coming to the house of death. We were fish killers.

We decided to try one last time. We made a couple modifications, purchased a few new things, and then went to the store one more time.

We got a beautiful tiny fantail goldfish that Bug named Rosy.

She did, well, swimmingly (sorry, couldn't help it).

She made it through the first week, and then the first month, and then three months!

At three months, she got horribly sick. Her fins were all stuck together, she would stay at the top of her tank gulping air, she moved sluggishly.

I did more reading, calls to the pet store, and treated her.

She survived.

Now, she's two years and three months old. She's survived two illnesses, two boys, and a 1200 mile move.

The average life expectancy of a gold fish is 3 years. (Yes, some can live much longer, but most don't.)

Every time she acts funny, we're convinced that she's about to go belly-up. During her last illness, Bug and Monkey were in tears as I explained that Rosy was an old goldfish, and we would take good care of her, but she might not make it.

She did just fine. She's an old fish, but she's hanging in there.

Yes, she's a fish. We can't cuddle, pet, or hold her. As far are pets go, who really counts fish?

We do.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All Of The Above

My best friend.

My support system.

The father of my children.

My team mate.

The carrier of heavy things and opener of jars.

The fixer of cars, roofs, and battery-operated toys.

The one in my corner.

My soul mate.

The love of my life.

Happy Birthday, to all of the above.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back and Forth

Happiness is...

going back and forth, back and forth

for hours at a time.

Because, sometimes, all you need

is a swing.

*Note: this photos were taken before the hair catastrophe I wrecked upon my four year old.

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


Saturday, October 9, 2010


Swiss cheese, portabella mushrooms, avocado, heirloom tomatoes.

I might as well be singing "These are a few of my favorite things."

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Burden

I just got my first statement in the mail for my student loans.

As I felt the panic well up in the back of my throat, I made plans to call them today to talk about deferment/forbearance plans.

Hubster and I were fortunate enough to get through our undergraduate education without student debt. Through a scholarship I had received during high school and the ability to be dirt poor and qualify for a variety of grants, we both graduated with our bachelors degrees without thinking about future repayment.

That ended with medical school. At first, we tried to borrow the bare minimum. Just tuition, while we tried to pay for books out of pocket. And then we found ourselves in a position that required us to place Bug and Monkey in daycare. And with our measly income, the $1000+/month for two children in full time daycare wasn't feasible. So I had to borrow money to have someone else watch my children so that I could continue with my education.

I graduated medical school with over $120,000 of debt.

And I did it during a time when the glory days of student loans were long over. Interest rates were skyrocketing, repayment plans were not as friendly to starting residents. There had previously been a policy called "economic deferment." This policy stated that if you made less per month than 2 times your month debt payment, you could place the loans in deferment, and were not required to make payments and interest would not accrue. That policy was replaced by forbearance, which means if I feel I am unable to pay my loans, I can play them in forbearance, but interest will accrue. I have to fill out some hefty paperwork proving I can't pay my loans, including how much I spend a month on utilities, groceries, how much I have in savings, etc. And there is discussion that forbearance will be off the table soon, and our only option will be income-based repayment. So, regardless of my resident salary, I would have to start paying on my resident loans rights away.

My first statement said that my student loan payment will $1200/month. That is not on the income-based repayment, but a straight-up number. It will obviously be less for the next couple years, but eventually that is what I will be paying for 20 plus years. My dad payed of his medical school loans months before I got married.

It eats a hole in my stomach.

The other horrible thing is the interest rate. Several years before I started medical school, medical students were getting loans at 2-3% interest rate. Those days are gone. I was one of the lucky ones who qualified for a few Perkins loans that have an interest rate of 5%. The majority of my loans at at 6.8%! And that is still subject to increase.

That's more than the interest rate on my house!

I know that eventually we'll pay them all off. These loans are going to be our first priority once I'm done with my $12-15/hour job as a resident. The feeling of those loans keep me awake at night and make me ill to my stomach.

My loans were what kept me going during my darkest times in my training. I would tell Hubster I was going to drop out and he would reply with "Okay, but what are we going to do about your loans?" The only way to have a prayer of paying them back was to keep going.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Never mind that he's loosing teeth a little later than normal. It's also been quite a bit since the last tooth fell out.

I think that gap-y smile is cuter than just about anything.

I'm also glad that it waited until a couple of days after school picture day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Skill Set

Monkey's hair had been getting a little bit long. As in hanging in his eyes, getting knots in it in the morning, difficult to comb long.

I usually put off cutting my boys' hair until I have to. First, taking two boys to get their hair cut isn't exactly the most fun to be had on a random afternoon. Secondly, it's expensive. Even the cheapest hair cut I can find, we don't leave the place looking more like boys and less like sheepdogs for less than $20. And it's usually $30.

I know. Call me cheap. But mother always cut our hair. I never paid anyone to cut my hair until after I got married. My mom still cuts my dad's, my brothers', and my sisters' hair. So spending money on a hair cut seems a little excessive sometimes.

These days, we're all trying to see how far we can stretch our money.

So, this time, when Monkey's hair starting getting in his eyes, I decided I would follow after my mother, and cut it myself.

You guys, I have a lot of skills.

Turns out, cutting hair is not one of them.

It was so crooked, choppy, and uneven. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to make it any better. Every snip of the scissors seemed to make it worse. I tried our set of clippers, but that made things even worse. 45 minutes into the process, I was in tears. What had I done to my baby's beautiful hair?

I realize that this picture doesn't do the atrocity justice.
I didn't have to heart to document the back of his head.

Hubster would like you all to know that he was against the whole thing from the very start.

I guess my lack of skills shouldn't come as a surprise. When Hubster and I first got married, we were barely making ends meet, the proverbial "church mice." I tried at that time to cut Hubster's hair to make our budget go a little further.

I cut it once. He went that same day to get it fixed. He's never let me near him with a pair of scissors again. It's a running joke. I'll offer to cut his hair. He'll get this extremely uncomfortable look on his face, because he doesn't want me to, but he doesn't know how to say it without hurting my feelings. And then I laugh.

So when I starting cutting Monkey's hair, he would occasionally walk through the kitchen, shaking his head, but biting his tongue.

Even when he looked that my final attempt, he was kind enough not to say anything. But he did agree to take Monkey in the next morning to have a professional fix the damage I had wrought on our son's locks.

I didn't go with them. I just couldn't bare to have to face someone and admit what I had done. Although Hubster reported that the lady said "It happens all the time."

Monkey didn't seem to mind what his hair looked like at any phase is this process.

As for me, I think I'll keep my day job.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

8 p.m.

Happiness is...

8 p.m.

Stop by Leigh vs. Laundry for The Happiness Project and post a picture of something that makes you deliriously happy.


Monday, October 4, 2010

This Can't Be Normal

Last week, I had my first illness of the season. Horrid fatigue, pounding headaches, hacking cough, constant runny nose, and sinus pain that felt like an ice pick shoved up my nose. Yes, it was absolutely as pleasant as it sounds. I has spent the weekend on my couch with a box of tissues, a hoodie, and a water bottle, sleeping 2-3 hours stretches and barking at anyone who disturbed me.

Monday rolled around. I wasn't feeling much better. However, I didn't want to burn a sick day this early into the flu season. And since I wear a mask all day anyways, I thought I'd tough it out. I fully medicated myself on allergy medicine, DayQuil, ibuprofen, and Tylenol, and went it. I did two cases and by noon I was done with my assigned procedures. I felt even worse, was running a mild fever, had a fast heart beat, and my sinus pain was worse. I was able to convince the operating room desk that I should go home (and since I was done with my cases, it wouldn't count as a sick day, despite leaving 6 hours early.)

I went home, slept some more, and by 8 pm, was starting to feel normal.

Here's the thing...Monday was the best day of the week.

Even being sick, and having chills, and not being able to open my eyes due to my sinus headache, I would rather that than be at work.

My good friend called in sick a couple of weeks ago with a migraine. She voiced the same sentiment. She said that even as she was vomiting from the migraine pain, she was thinking how much better it was than work.

Lots of jobs suck, but to get to the point that we would prefer to be physically ill rather than drag ourselves out of bed at 4:45 am, work 13 hours in a high stress environment...that can't be normal.

Looking back, preferring to have the flu to manning an operating room is pretty mild.

Last February was one of the darkest, most demanding points in my intern year. I was grasping at straws to maintain my hope that I would make it through.

I cross train tracks entering and exiting the assigned hospital parking lot. Nearly every single day, I hoped that I would get hit by a train so that I didn't continue to have to go to work. It felt that spending the month on a ventilator in the intensive care unit would be better than having to continue to round on, write notes on, and manage a seemingly endless number of complicated patients.

This makes it sound like I have a death wish, am passively suicidal, and need to be seriously medicated. I'm aware of that. The fact is that I'm none of the above. I had no intention of hurting myself. Those thoughts were escapist fantasy of the worst kind.

What's actually depressing about this is that I'm not alone. I've heard nearly all my fellow residents endorse similar thoughts. Maybe they would get hit crossing an intersection. Maybe they wouldn't wear their seat belt. Maybe they would fall down the steps in the stair well. Not enough to die, just enough to take us out of commission for a couple of weeks.

As time goes on, we've all developed better coping skills (although tragically, there is still the occasional physician that turns to alcohol or drugs to cope.)

We make friends, we turn to our families.

We recognize that while we save lives every day at work, our own lives go on outside the hospital.