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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.

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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.

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And the Oscar goes to…

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.

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Love him or hate him, Senator Obama is our new president, and health care most likely won’t be immune to his push for “change.”

Prior to the election, Obama shared his ideas for healthcare reform in the October 9th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The article can be found here. Unfortunately, the article seems to sugarcoat what Obama really wants the U.S. to move toward Рgovernment-run health care. Now even within the medical community there exists some ideological segregation on whether a form of socialized medicine is good for this country. I happen to belong to the camp that balks at big government and thinks any type of universal healthcare program would be bad for this country. However, I welcome discourse on this topic and will be addressing it in more detail in the near future.

I realize this isn’t a political ¬†blog, but as medical wives we will be more personally affected by healthcare reform, and it’s our responsibility to stay informed and be engaged in conversations about health care in this country.

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Black Bean-Pumpkin Soup

In the spirit of Fall and all those Pumpkins out there here is a Pumpkin dish that is sure to warm you up.

Makes 8 servings.

In a 4qt pot over medium heat, whisk together 2 cans of vegetable broth and 1 cup of pure pumpkin puree, until well blended.

Stir in 1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, drained, and rinsed; 1 can of rotel, and 1 (11 oz.) can of Mexi-corn, drained.

Cook 5 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Garnish with sour cream or cilantro

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I have recently found myself praying for the state of our economy, our well-being, our upcoming election, our nation as a whole. ¬†These things jump to the forefront when you go two and a half weeks without being able to get gas. ¬†Really, we have not been able to get gas in my city for over two weeks! ¬†It’s a result of panic and greed among the citizens of this area, but none the less, we have no gas. ¬†Being born in the late 70’s, this was a shocking experience for me. ¬†I’ve always lived in a “you want it, you got it” era. ¬†

Back to the point.  As the price of everything (except my pre-buyout purchase of Wachovia stock) goes up, I find myself being thankful for some things that I really never imagined I would be.  Could I ever have imagined that I would be thankful for:

  • A husband who had to spend a lot of our pre-children days studying?
  • A penny-pinching budget that felt more like a slap in the face every time my husband worked a 100 hour work week?
  • Lonely nights that come along with call and lonely days that come along with post-call?
  • Moving to a different state every few years? ¬†And on that note, losing friends and having to make new ones so frequently?
  • Being married to someone who has a whole brain-full of info that I know very little about?
  • Trying to go out for supper as a family and having two or three people interrupt us to get my husband’s medical advice?
No, I didn’t think I would ever be thankful for these things. ¬†But, the reality is that I am so very thankful that my husband is a doctor. ¬†I am so thankful that he can provide for us even as our economy comes crashing down further every day. ¬†I am so thankful that my husband has a job that can’t be outsourced. ¬†I am so thankful that my husband put in long, sleepless nights hitting the books so he would be prepared for long, sleepless nights caring for others. ¬†I am so thankful that my husband gets up early most mornings to head off to a profession that he loves. ¬†I am so thankful that I can still afford gas when it goes over $4/gallon (even if I can’t find any to buy). ¬†Being thankful for these things, I in turn have to be thankful for the things I never thought I would be. ¬†I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am so thankful that I have to share my husband with his tireless pursuit to practice good medicine. ¬†Some girls have all the luck! ūüôā ¬†¬†

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I have been reflecting on my  journey with my husband in medical school and residency and thinking of the fears I had in moving to a new place. I must admit that I was very fearful of moving to a new place and the possibility of never making a friend. Those who know me would probably say that these fears are unfounded given my love of people and making new friends. None the less, I was afraid and uncertain.

The move we made for medical school was an hour and half away from our home town and it might as well have been on the other side of the globe. I was panicked at the idea of being away from all that was familiar. In my hometown I was very comfortable within my existing circle of friends. When we moved for medical school I was in a city where I knew my husband and maybe three other people. I was lonely and unsure of my role in my husbands life as a medical student.

The first few months of medical school I made lots of trips up the turnpike to my hometown excusing myself from the loneliness of another Friday night with no friends to hang out with. It became clear that my weekend get-aways were getting me nowhere in the friend department and it was time to step out of my comfort zone and make some friends. My husband and I went to a Med-Student social and I met lots of other spouses that were just like me. Their spouses were cramming for test-blocks and dissecting the human anatomy just like my husband.¬† I then¬† discovered the Medical Student Spouse Alliance chapter of my husband’s institution and there was to be a dinner for the spouses at one of the physician’s homes.¬† It was this rainy evening that I went on to meet more medical wives, one that stands out in particular is my now dear friend Tiffany. We hit it off instantly and laughed our way through the uncomfortable evening. We even got elected to be the President of the Medical Student Spouse Alliance. A job that we weren’t sure we were qualified for but we took the job probably due to the amount of wine we consumed at dinner.¬† After the dinner was over we stood outside on the wet neighborhood streets and chatted. It was then that Tiffany asked me a question that I have yet to ever forget. “Will you be my friend?” she said. I was dumbfounded as I hadn’t ever been asked that question ever or at least since grade school.¬† Tiffany went on to explain that this was a question a old friend had asked her and now was a question that she asked of people that she wanted to be-friend. Still dumbfounded, I said, “Yes”. Could a lasting friendship be started on the premise of grade school antics? I wasn’t sure but my heart was happy to have a friend to laugh with and share the ups and downs of medical school.

Medical School proved to be not only a time of growth for my husband but for myself as well. I was growing not only in the aspect of living in a new city, or a new job  but also spiritually. In our second year of medical school, Tiffany invited me to a Bible study with some other medical student spouses. It was here that I grew spiritually in ways that I had never imagined and made friends that have lasted well beyond medical school and still to this day are my closest friends. These women were strong, loving, and encouraging. This was just what I needed to make it through the tough years of medical school and really what prepared my heart for residency.

The first year of residency was easy relatively speaking, we moved an hour and half up the turnpike to our hometown and I was relieved to get a year to spend with my family and old friends considering we were about to move 800 miles from our home state of Oklahoma so my husband could finish his residency in Anesthesia. The year flew by and it was time to move again. This move was not as easy as the previous two moves. I was really leaving a lot behind. Family, Friends, and Security. I could not escape up the turnpike like I had done just 4 years ago. I was more afraid than ever because this time I had a small child and I was pregnant. A mom and an expectant one at that; two factors that called for lots of support. I knew that I would have to take the task of making friends head on!¬† While in Oklahoma, I had heard a networking sites like “Meet Up” and some other sites that catered to the stay at home mom crowd. Upon arriving to our new city, I quickly got unpacked and plugged in literally. Within the first month, I was going on “blind friend dates” and meeting perfect strangers for play dates. My friends and family back home thought I had lost my mind in this 800 mile move. I knew I had to do something to make friends in this city of 4 million people. This would be my version of Tiffany’s question, Will you be my friend? Sure enough within a few months I had met friends. I had regular play dates for my daughter. I had even met some resident spouses through these random “meet ups”. I found a church and a fabulous small group of people to grow with spiritually.¬† My life was not what I had feared. I was not alone and I was able to make friends. I had stretched my self beyond my comfort zone once again and it payed off with genuine friendship and companionship in this time of long call nights, even longer post call days, and living on a shoestring.

It is hard to move. It is even harder to step outside of what is comfortable and make yourself vulnerable to the possiblities of new friendships and experiences.¬† However, you never know what friendships you might miss out on if you don’t take that first step and ask the question, Will you be my friend?

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