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It has been said that life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away. Can’t really say I agree. In fact, I would say that my life has been made up of a lot of little moments that weren’t so breath-taking. A lot of little moments that I wouldn’t trade for the world, even though they may be viewed as ordinary, possibly boring or mundane. Of course, I have had some moments that were “mile-markers” in my life, and even a few moments that have taken my breath away. But, it’s the little moments that I think back on and chuckle or frown, sigh in relief or in awe. It’s the little moments that have come together to shape the woman I am today. Big or small, I wouldn’t the be same if I had not experienced each and every one of them. And for that, I am thankful.
Here are a few of the moments that are threads in the fabric of my life.

*My parents divorcing and all of the things that come along with it
*Heading off to college and knowing it all
*Cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs
*Dating – thank you Lord that this stage of my life is over. ūüôā
*Traveling without kids
*Hearing that my roommate from college died in a car wreck and finally grasping the frailty of life
*Bringing home Max, followed the next day by bringing home *Mallory, who was at the pet store where I had gone to get food for Max. She was the last dog left.
*Being loved by grandparents that weren’t “blood”
*Getting engaged
*Seeing my groom anxiously awaiting my entrance
*Buying our first house
*A positive pregnancy test x 3
*Not sleeping for four days so I could stay up to watch my newborn baby breathe
*Dropping my child off at preschool for the first time
*Planting flowers with little ones who make you remember how amazing flowers really are
*Having my daughter say “Is that a snake” as she pointed right behind me. The answer was yes.
*Letting my child eat popcorn for the first time
*Getting up in the middle of the night to lay a hand on my baby’s back
*Sleeping in bed with my sick child and seeing their relief when they wake-up and see that I didn’t sneak out when they fell asleep
*Trying to make a decision involving my newborn and having my mom say “I know you’ll make the right choice”
*The joy on Landry’s face when we declare it’s “movie night”
*Reminiscing with my husband and realizing how far we’ve come
*My husband telling me I’m a great mom and a great wife
*Having strangers tell me on a daily basis how beautiful my family is
*Most recently, my friend sending me an e-mail that had a news clip for “mother of the year”, which she had inserted my name.
*Seeing birds enjoying the food we’ve put out for them
*Seeing squirrels enjoy the food we put out for the birds

The list goes on and on. Every day there are more moments that are sweet and irreplaceable, even if they didn’t take my breath away.

I love Bailey Boys, Ragsland, Kelly’s Kids, Just Ducky and all those other adorable brands. I’ve always thought appliqued shirts were oh-so-fun. But I’m just too cheap to pay $25 (or more!) for a TEE SHIRT! Seriously? It’s a tee-shirt. It will probably have a big red blob of pizza stain or paint or grass stain on it after the first wearing. I just can’t justify spending that kind of money for a tee-shirt. But I really like appliqued shirts. So…off to Etsy. I found a bunch of cute stuff I liked, but I started wondering just how hard it would be to make them on my own. You all know how I love a good craft project. So after some Google action, I discovered the joy of Wonder Under! With this “magic paper” you can make anything fusible! Woo-hoo! Here is a play-by-play of my latest creation for Tucker: 1. Pick a picture(you can sketch one by hand, find a template online or just use a simple coloring book page), and draw out a template. appliquestep1_edited-12 2. Cut out your templates and place them on the fabric to get an idea of how much you will need to use. Cut out the section the fabric that you will need. appliquestep2_edited-1 3. Cut out enough Wonder Under that you will have enough room for all of your templates. appliquestep3 4. Iron Wonder Under to the WRONG SIDE of your fabric pieces. Trace out your templates BACKWARDS! appliquestep4 5. Cut out all of your pieces. Peel the back off of the small black lines. Iron them onto the yellow piece while the backing is still on that piece(to keep it from sticking to something else). Then remove the backing from the yellow piece and iron it onto the green tractor body(while its backing is still on). appliquestep5 6. Fold the shirt in half long ways and iron it so that when the shirt is open, you can easily see the center.appliquestep6 7. Peel the Wonder Under backing from all of the pieces, arrange them onto the shirt and carefully iron on.appliquestep7 8. You may want to stitch around the edges with a sewing machine or make a nice hand-made outline. Otherwise, you’re done! Wash and wear as usual! appliquestep8 A few other things I’ve made recently with this easy applique technique: appliques

I had a fussy 4-month-old in my arms as we awaited to hear my husband’s name called out on Match Day.¬† After months of interviewing (my husband had chosen radiology, one of the more competitive specialties and now admits he went a little overboard with the interview process), we’d finally know where we’d be spending the next few years of our lives. As new parents, we were praying we’d be closer to grandparents.

Our prayers were answered. Dr. McDreamy got both of his first choices. We would be doing a transitional year with a lighter workload about 2 1/2 hours from my parents. After that we’d be moving to a big city just an hour from my parents and about 45 minutes from my husband’s family. We were ecstatic.

Herein lies the irony. Just months before when I was a walking whale swollen with our first child, we’d been thinking about going to some place “cool and exotic.” Maybe Boston. Or Denver. Or even somewhere lush and beautiful out in California.

Ah, but you’ve heard the adage before: Having a baby changes everything and boy, does it ever.

Dr. McDreamy interviewed at his current place of residency just five days after the birth of our first child. When he returned home, he said he’d liked the program a lot and then he asked, “Why are we ranking [so-and-so-place-that-was-super-far-from-our-families] first?”

“I have no idea,” I admitted.

Suddenly, the slopes of Colorado, the perfect weather of California, and the history of Massachusetts didn’t seem nearly as important as having family nearby to share in our baby’s life.

Dr. McDreamy is almost finished with his third year of radiology residency now (whoo-hoo! Only one more year plus a fellowship to go!). I’m almost finished with my third pregnancy. Some people (as in fellow residents) think we’re crazy to keep popping out these babies during residency when the hours are long and the money is short. I’ve had other medical wife friends ask me when the right time to have a baby is.

My answer? Whether you’re married to a resident or not, there is no right (or perfect) time to start a family. To me, the only right time is when you get knocked up and find yourself blessed with the gift of a child – whether a baby was a part of your medical training plan or not.¬†In all seriousness,¬†we don’t regret for one moment having our first child¬†during medical school and our subsequent kiddos during residency. Sure, money’s tight, but babies don’t need Pottery Barn nurseries, and toddlers don’t require pricey Gymboree Play & Music memberships to bond with their parents. What kids need, above all, is love, and you can dole that out at any time if you’re ready and willing to open your heart to new life.

Honestly, I get a little sad when I hear so many wives of residents talk about how they’re going to wait until their husband is finally finished with residency to start a family. I can’t judge them or blame them for wanting more financial security, but they don’t even know what they’re¬†postponing – the sweet smell of a new baby, the giggles of a toddler, the regular wrestling matches in the living room between Daddy and the preschooler…¬† We may not get to go to as many movies as we once did (there’s always Netflix). We may not have a lot of disposable income (who does these days?). Our kids don’t have fancy nurseries (who am I kidding? Our first either slept in our bed or in a crib wedged in a tiny room that was also home to bookshelves and our computer). We may be living in a city that has a lower “coolness” factor than, let’s say, Denver, but we have a family. We have kids who think Daddy rocks, not because he’s a doctor, but because he generously distributes hug and tickles.

Having a baby does change everything: Your residency plans, your need for grandparents to have on deck when you need a date night or just have to get your teeth cleaned, your sleep patterns, your budget.¬† Some of the changes require some sacrifice, but what your kids take (like sleep) they give back tenfold. They’re a constant reminder of why my husband and doctors work to defend life. They’re our future here now. We didn’t want to wait for them until¬†¬†the time was right, according to society. We didn’t want to put our life on hold just because it might be a little tougher to start a family during Dr. McDreamy’s medical training. We recognized that kids don’t make you poorer – they make your life far richer than you could ever imagine.

Our kids are living proof that life is good, and it’s only going to get better.

Match Day

March plays host to many special occasions such as Daylight Savings, Dr. Seuss’ birthday, St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of Spring. For the medical student crowd it brings MATCH DAY. Ahh…Match Day, the day that can bring smiles, laughter, yelps of joy, tears and fear.¬† Match Day is a long awaited day for every Medical student and their spouse….that is if they have one. It also the day that will set their medical careers in motion.

My memories of Match day are somewhat bittersweet. Our Match Day was held in a huge banquet room with the 100 plus medical students and their guest. We all were seated at round tables. My husband and I were surrounded with some of our dearest friends all awaiting the paths that our lives would be taking for the next few years.¬† Once they announced we could reveal our envelopes (they were creative and wrote every ones residency placements with invisible ink) you could hear the rustling of every ones paper and the scratching back and forth of the “Magic” markers resulting in a room full of¬† people hugging and kissing¬† accompanied with YES, Hey I got MY FIRST CHOICE, as well as a chorus of WAHOOs! Despite all the joy in the room you also could hear, “I didn’t get it” or “What does it say again?” and I am sorry. The latter was unfortunately accompanied with tears and the look of defeat for some.¬† Seated at our table there was a half and half mix. I looked across the table and saw my best friend and her husband going to their desired location full of joy and exuberance of what was to come and then to the side of them a couple with the wife in tears because she thought that they wouldn’t be moving further than another zip code finding themselves moving three states away.¬† My husband didn’t get his first choice either and I was borderline devastated.¬† We were matched to a great program housed in a city of 4 million people of which we knew not soul and not to mention we would be several states and too many miles away from our families. The tears fell and they fell and then they fell some more. It was hard to see my husband not get his heart’s desire and it was hard not to get my heart’s desire too. You see…I had hatched up this wonderful plan that my husband would get his first pick which also happened to be our dear friends first pick and we would live happily ever after in a new city and state with our friends to get us through these crazy 4 years ahead and best of all I would be comfortable.¬† However the story did not go as I had planned. Actually it ended up quite different. The story went more like we are going to move to a city with a Metro population of about 4 million people and we didn’t know any of them…yep not a soul. Luckily we were going to do a transitional year in our hometown so I had plenty of time to soak up the family and friend love and prepare for my “move of¬† doom”.

The year flew by and I found myself loading up the UHAUL and making my way to this new city where the streets all have the same name (or so it seems), and have I mentioned we didn’t know a single soul and surprise I was PREGNANT.¬† I could have allowed this move, pregnancy, and lonliness bring me down and I’ll be honest I had my moments of fear and sadness but overall I decided that I was going to have to take a more proactive role in making this new city my own because residency was going to be demanding and my husband was going to be busy and I knew that I was going to go crazy if I didn’t make friends and make them fast.¬† Some might say I went a little overboard but I was determined to have a good life in this new city and that involved forming new relationships and friendships.¬† Here are some things I did to get settled and plugged in:

  • I unpacked and I unpacked quickly. In less than a few days the boxes were gone and our home was functional.
  • I joined the YMCA–we all know that exercise is not only good for the body but also for the mind. This was a great way for me to release stress. Moving is stressful and being in a new city with your husband working crazy hours is REALLY stressful.
  • On-line Mom groups and Meetup.com were a blessing and allowed me to network with other moms in the area. Through these two outlets I joined two playgroups which kept me and my daughter busy with several outings a week. I got to explore my new city and find all the cool places that Moms and kids hang out. Not to mention I met one of my dearest friends through one of these internet meetups. It made me a believer in Cyber dating! ūüôā
  • Meet your neighbors. Get out and walk the neigborhood and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I kiddingly tell people that my daughter is the reason I ever meet anyone because she is constantly introducing me to strangers. Most of the time it is a great converstaion and I always learn something new about this great city I live in.
  • I also joined a church, a bible study and a M.O.P.S group.

All of the things I mentioned were key for me to maintain a sense of self and to keep busy most of all. Our husbands lead busy lives and it is important to hold on to the things that make us who we are while still being of great support to them. I now love my new city, have incredible friends whom I have made great memories with and¬† I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else (for the time being).

I would love to read your memories of Match Day or the ways you made your transition into residency. I think this could be of great support to the Medical student wives who are about to take their next step into Residency.

Me. No not really but if they did hand out awards to Mommies this week I would be getting  the award for Worst Mommy in a supporting role.

In just this week, I have received two nominations. The first nomination is for my role as a Mother who takes her sick kid to Kroger. My little one¬† had asked me to make her some soup for dinner because she was not feeling well.. I decided if we were going to have dinner and I were to serve soup to my little sickling,¬† I was going to have to go and take my sick kid with me.¬† While we were in line, we started making small talk with another Mom and her child. My little angel goes on to inform her that she has got the “STRIP” in her throat. Never in my life have I seen a lady move one of those giant car carts and clear the check out lane so fast. I might have to keep this in my mommy brain reserve for another time I need to clear a lane but not sure I can withstand the snarly looks.

My second nomination happened in the post office today where I have gotten previous nominations for my role as, a Mom who takes her baby out in the rain ( I didn’t know that babies would melt) and Mother of the kid who licks the post-office floor (I am still shuddering from that one). But today it was because I did not force my almost 4 year old to wear a coat. Okay so it was REALLY cold, like 30 degrees cold but it was NOT windy. Let me be honest here, I am the Mom who WANTS my kid to wear a coat but if she does not heed my advice, nor my instruction then I figure I’ll let her see for herself if she enjoys being cold. What is the worst thing that will happen? She gets COLD from the 15 feet from our car to the post office door?

Here is how things played out with Mrs. Paula the Postal lady aka Mean, Mean, Mean postal lady:

“Postal” Postal Lady: Where is that little girls coat?

Meek Mama: Feeling a little embarrassed. Hmm…she doesn’t have one, I mean its in the car but she didn’t want to wear it so I figure you can only tell them whats good for them but ultimately it is her decision.

P.P lady: With a whole lot of attitude. Oh no, you CAN tell them and you SHOULD have told her, SHE is SICK…right? I HEARD her coughing!

M.M: (hoping that my kid doesn’t spill the Strep beans again) Umm…yes but she is getting better and its not that bad outside because its not windy and plus I let her make those kind of decisions when it comes to appropriate clothing for the weather because it her comfort. Trying to win Mrs. Paula the postal lady over with my kindness and smile.

P.P lady: Blah, Blah, Blah. (Turning to the other Postal worker lady) This lady doesn’t have a coat on her sick little girl. Blah Blah Blah.

M.M: I am out the door. Internal thoughts, I would like to see you wrangle two kids into your stinkin postal office, wait in line, balance a package in one hand and a baby on your hip and try to get a head strong 4 year old to wear a coat. Plus, You don’t get colds from getting COLD…I am pretty sure I read that in one of my parenting books. See I am a decent mom…I read the books.

All this said, I am annoyed with the people who judge and try to tell me how to parent my kids. I guess I am getting pay-backs for the time I gave the lady at Wal-Mart who had her baby in the cart barefoot, dressed in a t-shirt and a diaper the “look” of disapproval. For all I know, her baby could have just had a blow-out in the parking lot and she happen to forget the extra clothes that the “Good Mommy” handbook suggests carrying at all times. May I never judge again.

We are Moms and are only human. We all make mistakes and are doing the best we can. As women and moms, we need to give other women and moms support and a little slack from time to time!¬† We need to hold the door for other moms and their broods, pick up the lost shoe that the toddler pulled off while the Mom is searching for that hard to find Pesto sauce, and give KNOWINGLY looks when other mom’s are struggling to calm or ignore their kids’ temper tantrums.¬† So next time you see a Mom give her a hand or better yet, a “Girl, I have been there!”. I know that would have spoke wonders for me this week.

For Christmas, I’m making¬†silhouettes of the kids for my mom and mother-in-law.¬† I wasn’t sure I could do it, but it was actually much easier than I thought!¬† I’m going to show you the pictures of¬†Thing One¬†along the way, and I’ll show you both kids at the end.¬† (Thing Two¬†would not put on a shirt, so it’s kind of risque…)

Step One: Put your subject(kid, cat, dog, whatever) against a white or light background, and get a good profile picture.

t-sil

Step Two(much easier if you have Photoshop): Go into Photoshop and use the “Magic Wand” tool to select and delete the background.¬† I turned mine black and white, so the lines would be more distinct.¬† Then you can print(on¬†white cardstock for¬†best results)¬†the back-groundless picture and cut it out.¬† OR…go the old-fashioned route of printing out the picture at a store photo-lab and cutting out the shape.

t-sil-bw-2

Step Three:¬† Use the picture/shape you cut out as a template, and cut out the silhouette onto a piece of cardstock.¬† I used traditional solid black.¬† (Eyelashes are the hardest part…I suggest using little bitty manicure scissors.)¬† But you could do some really fun and funky stuff with all different kinds of crafting papers!

Step Four:¬† Mount it on a background(once again, I used traditional white).¬† Frame, and¬† you’re ready to give this keepsake!¬† (I obviously haven’t framed this, and there’s a little bit of a shadow, but you get the idea.)¬†

sil01bw

Have fun making yours and good luck!

It‚Äôs midnight, and poor¬†Dr.¬†Dad¬†still isn‚Äôt home.¬† We were expecting him around 5:30, but that’s how it goes sometimes.¬† We ate dinner without him.¬† The kids went to bed without seeing Daddy.¬† There were several things I‚Äôd hoped he could help me with once he got home.¬† I‚Äôm sure¬†he would have liked to have some dinner by now, too.

But it‚Äôs not those things that hit me the hardest on a day like today.¬† He‚Äôs late because someone has a sick baby.¬† They came in for what should have been a ‚Äúregular‚ÄĚ delivery.¬† But once the baby was born, (s)he ended up not doing so well.¬†¬†Dr. Dad¬†did what he could to stabilize the baby and then called for transport to a near-by NICU(we don’t have one in our small-town hospital).¬†

I hate these kinds of days(and nights) because although I know my husband is a very capable pediatrician, there is only so much medicine can do. 

And I hate these kinds of days because this family should be celebrating the birth of a baby, and are instead probably scared about what lies ahead. 

I hate these kinds of days because it reminds me that even when everything looks ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ, there‚Äôs always a chance for a trainwreck.¬† There‚Äôs always the chance that something could go wrong.¬†

But these kinds of days also remind me that I shouldn’t complain about the minor things that went wrong today; I should celebrate all the things that went right.