Monday, May 30, 2011

A Little Celebration

Monkey graduated preschool last week.

It sounds just a little bit ridiculous when I actually say it. The only primary education graduation I remember was high school. Now there are preschool, kindergarten, elementary, junior high, and high school graduation. In a way, it feels a little like the practice of giving every kid who plays sports a trophy, the losing team as well as the winning. That after too many trophies, they just don't mean anything. Maybe that will end up being the case.

However, watching my little Monkey, in his darling handmade paper-bowl-and-construction paper hat, walk up and get his "certificate of completion," it didn't feel overdone and silly. It felt like a moment to celebrate the year that has gone by. A moment to celebrate how much he has learned. And a moment to grieve, just a little, how fast the year has gone by and how much he has grown.

This preschool has been a good thing. Located on a farm, he spent his preschool days feeding animals, having pony rides, planting gardens, watching chicks grow to chickens. It's not every preschool that sends home notes that say, "Please don't send your child to school in flip flops. It makes it very hard for them to climb fences."

After the little graduation ceremony, we wandered the farm, taking pictures of Monkey with all the animals.

Then it was time to go and leave preschool behind us. We have are off to kindergarten and all that excitement. I have a feeling, much as Winnie-the-Pooh must have, that "an adventure is about to begin."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"I wasn't going to easy. I was going for you."

Rewind 10 years.

Back before this blog was created, back before I even knew was blogging was. Back before we moved to Iowa. Back before I had started residency, back before I was even sure I was going to do medicine. Back before dental school and medical school, back before college even. Back before our first home, before we owned a single decent piece of furniture between the two of us. Back before our house was filled with toys, back before we even had children.

Rewind 10 years, and I was just 19 years old. And I was about to make the decision that led to everything I listed above. Basically, the decision that lead to nearly everything good in my life.

Rewind 10 years, and Hubster and I were getting married.

Who would have thought that at just 19 years of age, I would have actually made such a good decision?

Who would have known that the man who stood at the end of the aisle was not only going to be my best friend, but give me the courage to make my dreams come true? And when I was too scared to follow my dreams, would hold my hand and walk beside me on the path towards them?

I didn't. Despite the fact I knew I wanted to be married to Hubster, and walked up that aisle towards him unafraid and excited, I naively thought that what I was getting was a husband.

I didn't just realize all the things he would be.

A shoulder to cry on. A cheering section. A safe place. The father to my children. The call to my bluff. The calm to my storm. The one to catch the loose ends. The one to pick up the pieces. The one to build what I imagined.

Rewind 10 years, and I naively thought this whole thing would be easy. Nothing has been easy. Every moment has been difficult, as we've worked hard to create this life for us. Nothing has been easy, but it's been wonderful every moment. I wouldn't change a thing.

In my husband's own words, as I apologized for him having to be the calm, catch the loose ends, and pick up the pieces, as I apologized that things weren't easy, he said the words that I still hear every day.

I wasn't going for easy. I was going for you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

At least my kids think I'm cool

It's something that's been happening for a while now. I've been slowly becoming uncool.

When I first got married, a friend of mine said that we needed to go out, before I lost all sense of style. I scoffed, sure that would never happen. I had always been pretty trendy. I've been convincing myself that I haven't lost my sense of cool.

After all, I read books that are on the Best Seller's list, I keep an eye on what colors are in style, and I know what vlogs and Twitter are.

And I've always been a cool mom. I still wear make-up, I know the difference between Transformers and Bakugan. I don't own mommy jeans. I wasn't loosing my touch.

But lately, I've been getting a sense that maybe, just maybe I'm not as cool as I thought I was.

Let me share the evidence:

-I text in full sentences, spelling all my words out and using punctuation.

-I don't have a Twitter account (I only ever claimed to know about it.)

-We were going to go see a movie and had no idea what was even in theaters.

-I've never heard a single Justin Bieber song.

-When fellow bloggers post about music, I have not heard of most of the groups.

-I'm a two spacer.

-I feel more comfortable listening to 80s music than to top 40.

-I don't own a smart phone.

-I can't bring myself to wear a maxi dress.

-I'd rather stay home and watch Food Network than go out.

It's slowly happening. I'm becoming uncool. I'm not sure there is much I can do about it. I have no interest in The Bachelorette, wedge sandals, or teen pop stars. There may not be much I can go to regain my once trendy self, but I can do my best to convince my children that Back to the Future and vintage U2 are trendy. The good thing is that right now, they are young enough to believe me.

Up next, a mini van and a scrunchie.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


- I'm almost done with my cardiac rotation. The days cannot pass quickly enough.

-My beautiful new art cabinet now has knobs on its drawers. I'm not sure if you noticed the lack of knobs or not, but not being able to open the drawers has seriously helped keep everything organized.

- I have so many ideas for blog posts, but I've been having so much fun with, well, my life, that I haven't gotten around to posting them. But seriously, there are great posts in my blog's future.

-School is almost out. I could not be more excited! I have so many plans for this summer, I'm already making Hubster nervous.

-We went for our traditional Sunday afternoon at the library and ended up spending nearly 2 hours sitting in the "secure area," along with nearly 100 other people during a tornado warning. This was not what I had in mind for my weekend.

-We still don't have set-in-stone plans for childcare for when Hubster starts dental school. This is stressing me out.

-I've been on a dessert-cooking kick. The problem with cooking desserts, though, is that afterward, I want to eat them.

-We watched several episodes of How the Universe Works on the Science Channel with the boys. This was a huge mistake. I've had to field questions about how the world is going to end, and is a black hole going to eat us, and what will happen to us if there is a super nova. I just can't seem to provide enough reassurance that we will be fine.

-I just finished one of the worst books I've read in a long time. It's definitely time to read something else.

-The farmer market is open again!

-I've completely given up hope of catching up with my DVR. Sigh.

-I have vacation on Thursday and Friday, so this is a short week for me! (Which is just perfect, considering the celebrating I'll be doing later - more on that to come.) However, the universe seems set on keeping everything in balance, since I'm on call both Memorial Day and the following Saturday, turning what is normally a 4 day week into a 6 day week. Boo.

-Hopefully, my mind will be able to form more coherent thoughts in a few days.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hide and Seek

A favorite spring activity is strolling through our favorite park, seeking out flowers.

It's a little bit of a contest.

Who can find the first Jack-in-the-pulpit? Who can find the most?

Who can spot the first May apple, the pale flower shyly nodding under large green leaves?

Everyone finds some, making this a game that everyone wins, and everyone loves.

And, if we're really lucky, we find something new, like the rare showy orchid, hidden at ground level.

(Sorry for the blurry picture.
We were so excited to find this flower,
we had to take a picture despite the fading evening light.)

Soon, spring will be over, and the Jack-in-the-pulpits and the May apples will be gone.

But the game won't end. There will be columbine and wild roses to hunt for in summer, and Indian pipe and jewel weed to hunt for in autumn.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bug, Version 5.11

Dear Bug,

Summer is coming, and that means the not only will you be leaving 3rd grade behind, you will turning 9.

9! Nine!

I'm not sure what to do with that at the moment, so I'm going to ignore that until I'm forced to deal with it in four weeks.

I know that everyone says that have a child who is young-going-on-adult. I know it will be cliche to say that you are 8 going on 16, but it sure feels like it. You are logical in your approach to things. And you love to argue. Even if I tell you to please stop arguing and contradicting me, you answer with "I'm not arguing and contradicting you!" Thank you for making my point.

Your logic doesn't necessarily imply tact and sensitivity. While Monkey was playing an imagination game about monkeys jumping out of the trees onto the moon, you informed him that the moon is much too far away for anything to jump onto it, and besides, there is no oxygen on the moon, so all the monkeys are dead.

Monkey was not happy.

You informed me, while we were playing as a family on see-saw at the park, that the reason my side was heavier was because I weighed more than Dad. The reason I weighed more than Dad was because I was too busy to exercise.

I was not happy.

I'm not saying you are not sensitive. Because you are. I watch you, from out of nowhere, hug your little brother. You insist on getting hugs and kisses from everyone who is home before leaving to school. You are not (yet) embarrassed about being hugged in public. You curl up at night with your stuffed tiger, my own little (less naughty) Calvin and Hobbs.

Although, have no doubt, even if (when) you get to the age that continues to be sassy, but doesn't want to be hugged in public at all, I'm still going to try.



Monday, May 16, 2011

A place for everything...

...and everything in its place.

I can't believe how often I heard this growing up. It's something I would love to actually practice, but in reality, things get stacked on top of the desk, on the counter, on the bookshelves. It's a little embarrassing.

Truly, the worst offender has been the art supply box. At one time, it was all neatly organized. That was when there was one child's art supplies. (And it may have actually just been the first day of having the art box.) Take two children (and maybe some of my own), and any illusion of organization was just that.

Number one of my Project 52 list was to organize my closets. This included organizing the art supply area, since technically, it is stuffed into the office closet. I just didn't really know exactly what I wanted.

Until Hubster and I were wandering through Habitat for Humanity ReStore, looking for "treasure." Or as Hubster says, "cheap stuff."

That's when I found it. A red cabinet. The moment I came across it, I instantly saw all of our art supplies neatly stored away in the red and brown drawers. Not only would it be organized, it would be beautiful!

Hubster took next to no convincing.

We brought the beautiful red cabinet home, thoroughly cleaned the dust out of every crevice and corner. Then I spent a very happy afternoon organizing art supplies.

(Old baby wipe tubs - best storage for crayons and colored pencils ever!)

We went from this...

To this...

Now the cabinet stands happily in the office, encouraging the boys to come, take paints, take crayons, take pencils and papers. And just as sweetly, it encourages them to put them neatly away again.

At least that's what I hear it saying.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Joined at the Hip

This black beeping box is an unwelcome companion on a warm afternoon, keeping me thirty minutes away from the hospital at all times.

Home call sucks.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Windmills and Wooden Shoes

There are certain things that quickly become family tradition. Tulip Time in Pella is one of those things. How can something that involves windmills and wooden shoes be anything else?

Last year, despite it being cold and windy, we had so much fun, we knew we would go every year. This year, it was sunny, warm, and crowded. And perfectly delightful.

The cooler weather has lasted longer into the year, so the tulips, instead of being a little past prime like last year, were at their peak this time.

Tulip Time always feels a little surreal, because not only are the people in the parade dressed in authentic Dutch garb, but many of the observers. During the parade, we sat next to a family where the little boys were wearing the loose pants, black caps, and neck handkerchiefs of Dutch tradition.

Everywhere we walked, we heard the hollow thunk-thunk of wooden shoes.

After the parade, we wandered the clean, beautiful streets of Pella (maybe even splashing in the canal to cool off). We shared funnel cakes and Dutch letters.

Flaky pastry, almond paste, and sugar: Delicious!

We strolled past the windmills. We had planned on touring the historic village and Vermeer Mill, but with long lines and deteriorating moods in our boys, we decided the tour will wait until next year.

And the tulips...

They were just breathtaking. There was every color possible.

It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday: Full of tradition, sweets, and flowers.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Wouldn't Change A Thing

Instead of breakfast in bed, it was an allergy pill with a sip of water before rushing to the hospital at daybreak to assist with a lung transplant.

Instead of extravagant flowers, it was red carnations and handfuls of dandelions.

Instead of a elegant Mother's Day tea, it was sodas then story time at the library.

Instead of gifts of shiny new jewelry, it was twinkling candle holders made of baby food jars.

Instead of boxes of sweets, it was sticky little boys kisses.

Instead of a fancy night on the town, it was barbecue and games in the backyard.

Instead of being typical, it was perfect.